For 2016, the assessment for the community is $112.00 per month, which includes maintenance and utility costs for the common property, snow removal within the common area, weekly homeowner trash and recycling service, insurance on the common area, funding for the future replacement of the Association’s capital assets, as well as the management of the Association and operation, maintenance and membership at the Cordera Community Center.
Because your homeowner’s association (“HOA”) plays such a significant role in the shaping of your community, it is important to understand how it is formed, managed and eventually turned over to homeowners like yourself. La Plata’s vision for every HOA we form, like our vision for the Master Planned communities we develop, is to create and preserve long-term value for the homeowners and their property in the community where the HOA functions. La Plata and the HOA accomplish this in three ways: (1) by building and maintaining common areas and community facilities; (2) by formulating and implementing protective covenants establishing standards for design, construction, upkeep and use of property in the community; and (3) by establishing community activities, programs and events that serve the needs and preferences of the residents.
The development of quality, livable communities is a complex process. Many public services required by a new community—such as fire and police protection, zoning enforcement, maintenance of transportation and utilities—are performed by the local government. The City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities provide the bulk of these public safety and utility services for Cordera. However, because of fiscal limitations, your municipal government cannot provide and maintain common areas like parks, open space and recreational facilities in a reasonable timeframe and will not provide attractive streetscapes or neighborhood-based programs.
An HOA is a layer of “private government” (commonly referred to as “community governance”). Colorado governs HOAs through the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, which regulates certain activities, governs the imposition, payment and collection of assessments and charges, mandates particular procedures, and requires specific information to be provided to homeowners. The primary activities of an HOA include: common area maintenance, covenant enforcement, amenity management, review and approval of modifications to architectural and landscape elements, and sponsoring of community events. The challenge of an HOA is to achieve the goal of long-term value preservation by providing quality common areas at a reasonable cost while avoiding the imposition of unreasonable restrictions and overzealous enforcement. As a conscientious, community-minded developer, La Plata is charged with determining how to best assure that the common areas we create and dedicate to property owners are properly maintained. We must also decide the best way to ensure adherence to the protective covenants, which are established for the common benefit of all homeowners in the community.
At La Plata, we believe the best approach is to be actively involved in the management process commencing at the outset and continuing through the transition to complete homeowner control. We provide clear documentation of HOA covenant restrictions, structure, activities and procedures, hire professional management, provide financial support, and remain totally committed to the financial well-being and smooth operation of the HOA until the community is fully developed. Our approach to covenant enforcement is to be straightforward, open and direct, to utilize common sense, and to maintain a non-adversarial, neighborly attitude to the extent possible. We also engage homeowners early, encouraging them to participate on the board and various committees. We want to ensure that homeowners receive the education and experience necessary for a successful homeowner controlled operation when La Plata completes the community and turns over responsibility for the HOA. Equally important, we want to give homeowners the opportunity to plan and participate in HOA programs and activities.
Our goals for the transition of HOA responsibilities to the homeowners include:
- Having the board structure established, in place and fully operational
- Having in place a professional management company, experienced in all facets of the community and needs of the homeowners
- Completing architectural and landscape approval for all new homes and yards, and establishing fully functioning processes and procedures for modifications to homes and yards
- Implementing established processes and procedures for covenant enforcement that can be easily handed off
- Having in place excellent quality and properly maintained common areas and facilities
- Having established annual budgets and budgeting processes, responsibly implemented dues and assessments, and a financially healthy organization with appropriately funded reserves
- Establishing a tradition of community programs and events that serve and enrich the community
By engaging homeowners in the HOA early and staying active late, La Plata protects the long-term interests of our communities. Remaining actively involved over a long period of time allows us to hand off a well-functioning association to the homeowners who will bear the responsibility for the future quality of the community. This helps ensure that the investment made by homeowners in their homes and community will continue to grow well into the future.