This sections offers frequently asked questions from both current residents and potential residents.
Q: What information is available about the lampposts in front of the homes?
A: First of all, the maintenance and upkeep of the lamppost is the responsibility of the homeowner, however there are guidelines to follow. The information is listed in the Landscape / Architectural Manual – under section 3.19 Exterior Lighting: Type and placement of exterior lighting devices must be approved by the Committee. The concern is to eliminate glare and annoyance to adjacent property owners and passerby. All lampposts within Summerfield must be similar and painted dull black. The post height should be five feet tall with an eight to ten inch high, five or six sided globe with a pointed cap. For the “glass” lenses (which are actually plastic) and light bulbs, you can purchase them from the Summerfield Golf Pro Shop for $2.50 each.
Q: What information is there about mailboxes?
A: Information about mailboxes is listed in the Landscape / Architectural Manual – under section 3.17 Mailboxes: Mailboxes shall be of standard design. When replacing a mailbox, the replacement shall be the approved design per the Architectural Committee. Guidelines are available from the SCA Office or a Committee member. No other receptacles (newspaper, etc.) are permitted.
Q: What information is there about golf course screens?
A: Information about Golf Ball Screens is listed in the Landscape / Architectural Manual – under section 3.20 Golf Ball Screens: All improvements for the purpose of providing protective screening from errant golf balls much be reviewed and approved by the Committee prior to installation or construction. Acceptable materials and design guidelines are available from the SCA Office, on the website under FORMS, and/or from a Committee member. Screening will be of a design that compliments the architecture of the residential unit and shall not obstruct the view of any other property.
Q: Can I install a solar panel and skylight at my home?
A: Information about Solar Panels and Skylights is listed in the Landscape / Architectural Manual – under section 3:13: Manufactured solar panels and skylights may be approved if they are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation and meet all requirements of the City of Tigard building code and all other agencies with oversight and permit authority. A copy of the SCA Solar Panel Guidelines must be attached to a Change Request for those installations. Copies are available at the SCA Office and from Committee members.
Q. Does the SCA Office provide notary services and general business assistance?
A: The SCA Office does not provide Notary Services. We recommend that you go to your bank that you do business with. The copy machine in the lobby of the Clubhouse is for your use. The cost is 5 cents per copy. To send a fax or to receive a fax is $1.00 per page.
Here are some Questions & Answers from our “Ask the Administrator” column in the monthly newsletter:
Q: What should I do if a solicitor comes to my door?
A: Well, my personal recommendation is to not open the door. I always yell through the door that I’m not interested, but you will want to add that this is a No Soliciting community, per the entry signs into the community. You can also post a No Trespassing sign by your front door if you’d like. If you do have a solicitor, if possible, call the office and provide the specifics of the encounter, such as date, time, vendor name, etc. I then call the vendor and let them know of our No Soliciting status.
Q: Could you explain the rules and regulations of street and driveway parking in Summerfield?
A: There was a Resolution adopted in December 2004 by the SCA Board that clarified their position on parking. A full copy of the Resolution is available on our website or from our office. Here is an excerpt:
“Section 1.2 of the Declaration prohibits the parking of certain vehicles on lots or on Summerfield streets. This section has two primary purposes. First, the rule attempts to preserve aesthetic values within Summerfield. Ideally, every vehicle within Summerfield, when not in use, would be parked within a unit’s garage, with the garage door closed. While this may not be possible as a practical matter, it is the preference of the Summerfield residents…. The second primary purpose behind the prohibition against parking certain vehicles is community safety. The more vehicles that are parked on Summerfield streets and the larger the vehicles are, the more safety hazards are presented, both due to narrowed travel and obstructions to the vision of drivers and pedestrians. Accordingly, the Summerfield regulations are designed to minimize the number of vehicles that may be parked on such streets, they are smaller, traditional passenger vehicles rather than trucks, campers, etc.”
In addition to the SCA’s preference of parking in the garage, we also follow the Municipal Code for the City of Tigard. The full code can be found on their website, www.tigard-or.gov, but here is an excerpt:
“10.32.200 Obstructing Streets
. . no person shall place, park, deposit or leave upon any street or other public way, sidewalk or curb, any article or thing or material which in any way prevents, interrupts or obstructs the free passage of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. . .”
“7.40.070 Streets and Sidewalks
The owner or responsible party shall keep a public street and/or sidewalk abutting their property free from earth, rock and other debris and other objects that may obstruct or render the street or sidewalk unsafe for its intended use.”
So, basically, it would be great if everybody parked in their garage, but it is merely a preference, not a requirement, and certainly not always feasible. It is then preferred that vehicles be pulled up as far in the driveway as possible, not obstructing the sidewalk. If one finds that the sidewalk is obstructed, then safe street parking is the next best option (not on a curve). Isn’t it funny that these driveways from the 70’s are so short, yet the cars of the ’70s were like boats? Sometimes there just isn’t a good solution.
Q: There seem to be frequent walkers, joggers, and even baby strollers on the cart paths after the Marshals leave but still during golf play. How should residents handle this situation?
A: They are called CART PATHS for a reason…they are a path for carts! It is unfortunate that people do not recognize the safety hazards of using the cart paths when they are not playing golf. An errant golf ball would be very painful, if not critical. The approved Summerfield Golf Course Rules specify that “the golf course, including cart paths, is to be used only for playing golf. Any other use, day or night, as riding, either in golf carts or on bicycles, jogging or walking, is prohibited”. The Golf Course Rules are set by the SCA Board and the Board has the authority to set rules and regulations as necessary. If you feel comfortable approaching the offender, I would recommend letting them know that it is against the Summerfield policy to use the cart paths if not playing golf. Perhaps explaining the safety concerns will help them understand. If you are uncomfortable approaching them, please make a note of the date/time/location and pass it on to the Pro Shop, the Marshals or the SCA office.
Q: How can we encourage people to be responsible and clean up after their pets?
A: Most dog owners are wonderful and responsible, but there are the few that give the others a bad name. Well, we’ve put reminders in the newsletter and even posted little signs around the community. If you see an owner ignoring their responsibility, I see no reason why you couldn’t politely point it out to them. If you know of a repeat offender, please let me know a name or address and I can follow up with them as well.
Q: What are you doing about the residents that haven’t paid their annual assessments yet?
A: The CC&Rs are very clear about the process and you can reference Section 2.3 Assessments, Liens, and Collections. We start with a letter from the office, then a final letter from the Board President. If the assessment still isn’t paid, then we turn it over to our lawyer for collection and a lien on the residential unit. As you can imagine, the lawyer fees are very steep and they must be paid by the delinquent owner. It is a very unfortunate situation, but as a homeowners association, we have the responsibility to proceed with the defined process.
Q: How can SCA Clubs & Committees solicit events and activities to our own residents without violating the current SCA ‘no soliciting policy’?
A: There are lots of ways! All SCA Clubs & Committees can put up a poster in the Clubhouse lobby advertising an upcoming event or activity. All SCA Clubs & Committees can also submit an article for this monthly newsletter. Other ideas include putting a notice on the bulletin board in the Clubhouse hallway and distributing a notice to the other SCA Clubs & Committees (they all have mailboxes in the Clubhouse) or you could hand deliver at their next meeting. The ‘no soliciting’ policy basically means that you can’t go door-to-door in the neighborhood, even resident to resident, but if you know your neighbor, then of course you can go talk to them about your event / activity.
Q: Since the majority of Summerfield residents do not play golf, they probably have never witnessed the beauty of the course from the inside (along the cart paths). And since only golfers playing golf are allowed on the course, how can others get a tour?
A: We’d be happy to show off our beautiful course! If anybody is interested in having a personal tour, please contact me directly. I’ll coordinate a Monday morning tour (when the course is closed for maintenance) and work with the Marshals Committee for a tour guide.
Q: I know that pedestrians are not allowed on the golf cart paths, but what about that path that runs from Century Oak Drive through the golf course to the Clubhouse?
A: Yes, that path is okay for pedestrians. It runs between the 1st and the 9th hole, so hopefully there won’t be any errant golf balls. Just head straight to the Pro Shop or the side/front of the Clubhouse, not veering east or west on the regular cart paths.
Q: The SCA Board members have a 3-year term, but what about the representatives from the Apartments and the Estates? And are they voting members?
A: Per the By-Laws, any Proprietary Member owning 150 or more units may each appoint one Director. Since the Apartments and the Estates each have over 150 units, the managers of each have a seat on the Board (and indefinitely, no term limit). Yes, they are voting members.
Q: How can I submit something for this newsletter?
A: If you are a Club or Committee Chair, just submit your article electronically by the deadline (usually the 15th or 16th of the month). If you are a member of a Club or Committee and have an idea, share it with your Chair and they may choose to submit it. If you are a resident with an idea, please feel free to write a brief article and email it to me. There are specific policies for this newsletter, but general interest articles are welcome.
Q: I see the signs about the speed limit strictly enforced through Summerfield, but have never seen any kind of security doing this. Does it exist?
A: Summerfield is part of the City of Tigard jurisdiction, including traffic patrol. There are no internal groups that would have the authority to enforce the speed limit, though it would be humorous to see a resident using a hairdryer as a fake radar gun! There is a long history of speeding through our neighborhoods, both by residents and non-residents (some using as a cut-through, avoiding Durham or Hall). Our City of Tigard Liaison routinely asks for enhanced patrols from the City of Tigard, especially at the beginning of the school year. And just last week I witnessed a non-resident getting a ticket on Summerfield Drive at 7:30 AM.
Q: Since we have signs all over about NO SOLICITING, how come I see sandwich boards on the parking strips advertising particular companies who are doing work for a resident? Shouldn’t these be removed, complaints or not?
A: Yes, they should be removed (so if you are somebody that has one, please see that it is removed). Section 1.5 Signs of the CC&Rs only allows signs for a garage / estate sale (upon submitting the appropriate form), signs advertising for-sale properties and community event signs (such as the golf charity auction, holiday bazaar, etc.). No other signs are permitted unless the SCA Board has approved a written request. If we receive a specific complaint, I do call the vendor and ask for removal of the sign, however I am not able to drive around the community and look for sign violations.
Q: On the SCA website, www.summerfield55.org, the forms (such as Change Requests, Concern/Complaint, etc.), can’t be typed in and printed or submitted electronically. Can that be modified?
A: This functionality certainly exists and may be considered in the future versions of our website design. There would need to be some very thorough planning on how that would be administered (such as who receives, routes, documents, etc.). One of our greatest obstacles is our need for volunteers and their terms / turnover. In the meantime, the forms can be printed, filled out and submitted to the office (drop in the mail slot under the window if the office is closed).
Q: What are the different funding sources for Summerfield?
A: There are three buckets: the operating fund, the General Reserves fund and the New Buyer Fee fund. The Operating fund comes from revenue generated by the annual assessments and the golf course revenue. These revenues cover the day-to-day expenses of running the association, including common area landscaping, golf course maintenance, Clubhouse maintenance, utilities, employee salaries, etc. Anything ‘extra’ from the operating fund is transferred into the General Reserves fund. The General Reserves fund covers major expenditures and emergency items, such as a new piece of golf course equipment, Clubhouse roof repair, new copy machine or new hot water heater. Each of these ‘components’ of Summerfield are included in an annual Reserve Study that identifies projected useful life and replacement costs. The New Buyer Fee fund came into place in 2005 and Summerfield collects a $2,000 transfer fee upon sale of a property (with some exceptions) for this fund.
Q: Can you explain the tax status of Summerfield?
A: Yes, though I’m certainly not a CPA, here’s my understanding of it. We fall under IRS Code Section §528 and file form 1120-H. This subsection exempts certain nonprofit homeowners associations that manage association property. At least 60% of our gross income must come from dues, fees or assessments and at least 90% of our expenditures must be for the association’s property. We do not have to pay income tax on dues and assessments if they are used for maintenance or improvement. We do not have to pay income tax on any other taxable income as long as we maintain those percentages.
Q: What happens if I buy an annual Golf Tag and I get injured or sick?
A: Well, it is somewhat of a risk (life is full of risks, isn’t it?). Per the Assessments and Fees Policy & Procedure, “a refund for the annual golf fee may be prorated upon written request until March 1. After that date no refunds will be issued except in the case of death, when the request is made in writing.” For the vast majority of residents, the annual golf tag is a steal of a deal.
Q: What’s the procedure for using the sound system for an event in the Clubhouse?
A: There is a ‘microphone key’ that needs to be checked out the day before or the day of your event from the SCA office. In the locked cabinet is the wireless microphone, a wired microphone, and a portable microphone system. There are written instructions / explanations posted on the storage cabinet and on the cabinet where you turn the system on/off.
Q: I read about a Temporary Custodian. What is that and what are the rules?
A: Basically it’s a fancy term for a ‘house sitter’. It is NOT a rental situation. If you are going to be gone for awhile (up to 7 months), you might allow a friend or relative (qualified by age 55+ or with a Board variance) to occupy your home. Of course there’s a form to fill out! If this is something you are considering, please call me, email or stop by the office to discuss further.
Q: When we moved in 6 years ago, we were under the impression that houses couldn’t be purchased to be ‘flipped’ (renovated and sold again)—has this changed?
A: There has never been anything in our governing documents that restricts this. It helps our community by having updated properties, inside and outside. Annual assessments are payable even if the property is vacant and the New Buyers Fee ($2,000) applies as well (unless the buyer purchases a unit within 9 months of selling another unit).
Q: Has Summerfield ever received a monetary gift from an estate/will? Is that possible?
A: It is possible and that would be lovely! We do have a Gifts and Memorial Donations Policy and it states that we can certainly accept gifts, donations and endowments, however the giver must realize that the gift is not tax exempt (but as the resident that asked this question said, “Who cares at that point?”). The giver can request the use of the funds, but the Board can modify if needed (for example, the giver may give money to build a casino in the Clubhouse, but the Board could decide that a better use would be a coffee shop). We haven’t received a major monetary gift that I know of.
Q: Can I run a small business out of my home?
A: Section 1.6 Use of Property of our CC&Rs states “No dwelling is to be used for the conduct of business or for any commercial purpose unless prior written approval is obtained as provided in Section 1.10” (which is the section on the Board of Directors granting variances). I suspect we do have some residents that run a small business, however they don’t have visitors, there are no signs, no fleet of logoed vehicles, or any other outside indication of a commercial use.
Q: If I am hosting a private party at the Clubhouse, do I have to kick everybody out by 11:00 PM when the alarm activates?
A: You could, or you could pre-arrange with me to extend the alarm time for that night (midnight, 1 AM, 2 AM, etc.). It’s very easy to do with our new access control system, but it MUST be done in advance.
Q: Can I bring a guest to the Clubhouse or to a Summerfield event?
A: In most cases, YES! Your guest is welcome to join you, but you do need to be with your guest (as in don’t give them your fob and you stay home). It is particularly wonderful if you have a friend or family member that is interested in living or golfing at Summerfield and you can invite them to a meeting or activity. Also, if your guest is meeting you for Cards/Games, please plan to meet them at the door, rather than have them waiting or knocking.
Q: Can my adult child live with me?
A: Yes, your adult child (age 18+) is considered a “qualified occupant”. We do require that a Fair Housing Form be completed (to maintain our age/occupancy records) AND the annual assessment must be paid as well (we can pro-rate based on move-in date).
Q: Can you post this newsletter on-line?
A: It is posted on-line and has been for years. In fact, it is posted on-line long before it is hand delivered to your property. It’s also in color! Check it out at www.summerfield55.org, About Us, Newsletters. So if you are a snowbird, or just need to reference something, just look it up.
Q: Does the Clubhouse have Wi-fi?
A: Yes, we do! Stop by the office to pick up the password.
Q: I lost my fob. What should I do?
A: First of all, please let us know in the office as soon as possible. We will record the fob as ’lost’ which will make it inactive. That way somebody else isn’t using your fob. You can choose to keep looking and wait to get another one, or go ahead and pay the $20 deposit again for another one. If you find the first one, just return one of them and we’ll refund the second deposit.
Q: Can I come to the SCA Board Meeting?
A: Yes, definitely! We were thrilled to have so many visitors at the January meeting. SCA Board Meetings and all Committee Meetings are open meetings and all residents may attend. Visitors that wish to address the Board may sign in prior to 9:00 AM and are allotted 5 minutes each. Remember though, you don’t need to come to a Board Meeting to get information. Just send me an email, call or stop by the office.
Q: How do I reserve the Clubhouse for a meeting or event?
Answer: First, look at the on-line calendar to see if the space is available. If it is, submit to the SCA Office TWO copies of the Clubhouse Use Form (available in the Clubhouse hallway and on-line at www.summerfield55.org, Forms). Read the application carefully please! If there is a deposit or user fee required, submit the checks along with the Clubhouse Use Forms. If everything is complete and the space is still available, your event is confirmed and you will receive a copy of the approved application. Depending on the nature and size of the event, the Clubhouse Committee Events Advisor will schedule a time to meet with you to review the facilities available and any other pertinent information.
Q: Should I opt-in to the on-line Directory?
A: Yes, we think you should! It’s an easy way to look up another resident’s contact information. For example, if you met a Samantha at a social event and wanted to call her, you could search for all the Samantha’s in Summerfield. Or maybe you wanted to see if your neighbor had an email listed, so you could write a nice request to trim their tree, rather than have to ask them in person. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll only find those that have opted-in. We encourage everybody to opt-in! If you’ve lost your log-in / password information, you can email Diane in the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I really miss the People in Profile article that used to be in this newsletter. Will you publish that again?
A: I hope so! That wonderful article was written by a volunteer and it would be great to find somebody willing to start that up again. It’s an opportunity to volunteer on your own time schedule. It entails interviewing a note-worthy resident, writing up an article and emailing it to me, along with their photo.
Q: I saw a man and two dogs on the golf course last week and the dogs were chasing the geese. Is that okay?
A: Yes, we contract with a company called Geese Guys (www.geeseguys.com) to assist in our goose management on the golf course.
Q: How come I don’t see my Club or activity information in this newsletter?
A: Each Committee, Club or Summerfield activity has the opportunity to submit an article or blurb for the newsletter. I send a reminder to the leaders at the beginning of the month with the due date for submission (generally the middle of the month). Most articles must be edited in order to fit them all in.
Q: Why don’t we pay the assessment per household, rather than per person?
A: Summerfield’s CC&Rs were originally set up in 1973 and that was what they decided back then. To change it from the per person structure to a per household structure would require a 100% approval vote from our residents and that is highly unlikely, if not impossible to obtain. Can you image all the effort of a vote and just one resident says no? Budgeting for a per person assessment can be tricky, with constant changes in move-ins/outs, deaths, additional occupants, etc. However, the fluctuations over the year tend to balance out overall.
Q: What is the difference between a Club and a Committee? If I have a new idea, how do I get started?
A: Clubs are formed by a group of residents with a common interest. Clubs may choose to develop their own by-laws, elect officers, generate funding, etc. at their discretion. Although the SCA Board does not sponsor or participate in Club activities, they encourage any Clubs that add to the enjoyment of Summerfield residents. New Clubs do need to be officially approved by the SCA Board (first routed through the Clubhouse Committee). If you have an idea for a Club, you can put in a “Call for Interest” in this newsletter and on the hallway bulletin board. You should also check the on-line Clubhouse Calendar to see about possible dates and times for meetings. If you have a new idea, please set up an appointment with me and I’ll review the established policies, procedures and guidelines with you.
On the other hand, a Committee serves the Board, and is appointed by the Board, as they assist with the various duties and responsibilities of the association and it’s amenities, per the CC&Rs, By-Laws and other governing documents. There are procedures for the required officers, responsibilities and if necessary, funding. For example, the Architectural / Landscape Committee is charged with upholding the various exterior property guidelines as established for the community.
Q: Why should residents sign up to have access to the Residents Only section of the www.summerfield55.org website?
A: First of all, many residents enjoy the ease of using the on-line directory when looking up other resident information. While our printed SCA Resident & Business Directory is wonderful, it only provides basic information. You can find a resident’s email address and/or cell phone number, for example (if they’ve provided it), on the on-line Directory. Secondly, you can find more detailed information about your association, such as the 2016 Reserve Study Update, 2016 Budget Summary and the SCA Board Meeting Minutes. If you haven’t “opted-in” for the Residents Only section of our website, just ask Diane Ragsdale in the SCA Office, to get you set up (stop by or email her at email@example.com).
Q: I want to volunteer in some capacity, but I’m not sure what I’d like. What do you recommend?
A: I would love the opportunity to sit down and talk about the options! Our Committees are so valuable to the health and well-being of our association and we’ve seen a steady decline in active participation over the years (this is not exclusive to Summerfield; almost all homeowner associations are experiencing this). We need more volunteers! Some Committees require more time, energy or special skills than others, some need leaders and some need followers, and some need assistance with organization and execution of ideas. If I can learn more about your interests, your professional experience, your strengths and even your personality, then I can help make a recommendation of how you can best volunteer. Let’s set up a time to talk: call, stop by or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I’m a new resident to Summerfield. My old HOA did not allow yard ornaments in the front yard. How does Summerfield deal with this situation?
A: 3.10 of the Architectural/Landscape Manual addresses this topic. Yard ornamentation (statues, figurines, windmills, etc.) requires a Change Request to be submitted for approval. Small yard ornamentation (such as the type with a long stake to poke into the ground, pinwheels, gnomes, etc.) are best placed in your courtyard or backyard (unless you live adjacent to the golf course). Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I encourage all residents to strive for the cohesive “look” that attracted you to Summerfield in the first place. “Tchotchkes and trinkets” aren’t really Summerfield’s style!
Q: When can I pay the Annual Assessment?
A: The Annual Assessment must always be paid between the first business day in January and February 15th,. That’s six weeks to plan and pay! We are sorry, but we CAN NOT accept your payment early. We understand that many residents travel for the winter, however, all you have to do is either put a check in the mail or set up an on-line banking check to be dispersed during the proper time frame. Make checks payable to Summerfield or SCA, and yes, you can include annual assessments with the annual golf tag and/or golf cart permit on one check. We’ll set aside your golf tag and/or permit until you return. If you are staying in town, just come by the SCA Office between 8:00 AM—12:00 noon to pay by check or cash only (no credit/debit). We will post in the January newsletter if there are any extra office hours or weekend office hours. When you pay your assessment, you will receive your new Resident and Business Directory. However, you can drop your check in the mail slot under the office window at any time during the posted timeframe and pick up your Directory at another time.
Q: If I have a concern / complaint about my neighbor, do I have to sign the form?
A: No, you do not have to. But it does help to know who to ask if there are further questions or documentation needed. If you do sign it, we do keep that information as confidential as possible, however please know that if anything escalates to requiring legal assistance, all names/information must be disclosed. As a reminder, the first step is always to try to talk to your neighbor about what might be bothering you and why. Perhaps there’s a reasonable explanation, or there is a short-term situation, or maybe you can brainstorm solutions together.
Q: It would be more equitable if we paid our annual assessment per residence, instead of per resident. How can we change that?
A: This is part of our CC&Rs that would require a 100% YES vote to change. Apparently once the CC&Rs are created with the method of assessments (and in our case, per person) then it cannot be changed unless everybody agrees! We can only guess as to the reasons why Summerfield was created this way in 1973. The five sections that we voted on in September were categories that only needed a 60% YES vote. Given what we just experienced with only a 65% total voter response, it’s likely impossible to even consider that we could obtain 100% YES to make this change.
Q: How can I see my property lines if I can’t find a stake?
A: The only 100% definitive way is to hire a professional survey company to locate your property corners. But, you can also get a rough idea on-line! It looks cumbersome, but just follow along, step by step, and it’s easy. Go to the Washington County Maps website: http://washims.co.washington.or.us/gis/
- Click on the map icon under the words ‘InterMap Individual Property / Taxlot Research Tool’.
- Next, type in the address you are interested in, you will see a long list of choices, then choose the address again. On the map, you will see a red dashed line around the property (this is your property line).
- To see the aerial view, click on Maps drop-down on the upper right side, choose Aerial. You can also zoom in here and it gives a better vantage point for viewing trees, paths, etc. Remember that trees can be tricky, as the trunk isn’t always directly under the canopy, it could be at an angle that is undetectable in an aerial view.