Friday, February 27, 2009

The End of the Line... far as we go...

regular TRAX riders will understand that reference. I invite the rest of you to take a ride on TRAX, so you can catch it.
The End of the Line

Julie Ladle and I had a meeting out at Daybreak today; while we were there, I wanted to visit the terminus of the rails of the new Mid-Jordan TRAX line to Daybreak.

When completed (currently anticipated to be sometime in 2011-12), the spur will travel from Daybreak to the Fashion Place (6400 South) Station, where it will connect to trains running to Downtown, and ultimately to West Valley City, the Airport, and the University of Utah.

The course to Daybreak will be rather indirect, but it will allow many other residents to avoid the need to fight traffic and dump carbon into the atmosphere. This link will take you to the latest information on the progress of this extension.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No More Non-Judicial Foreclosures?

Those who know me, and those who follow this blog, are aware that I've never been an advocate of non-judicial foreclosures of community association assessment liens. And at the the CCAL Law Conference last month, the pundits were agreeing.

I've had a number of reasons to dislike nonjudicial foreclosures; I think they usually take longer than a letter followed (when necessary) by a complaint; I think they are unduly aggressive in a number of situations; I think they unduly impose excessive costs on the association and ultimately the unit owner, and I've always questioned their legality under Utah statutes. And now, there's published evidence that confirms that a Utah trial court has found them problematic, and an appelate court won't review that decision, at least for now.

The case, McQueen v. Jordan Pines Townhomes Owners Association, Inc., involved challenges on a number of grounds to the legitimacy of a condominium non-judicial foreclosure; the trial court essentially held that ambiguities and omissions in the Utah Condominium Act would not justify the absence of a "trustee" in a nonjudicial foreclosure, and hence the attempted sale by the association's counsel was set aside. The association's counsel appealed, but that appeal was very quickly rejected by the Utah Court of Appeals, based upon the absence of a "final ruling" from which the association was appealing. Remaining controversies between the parties preclude consideration of the appeal at this time; I strongly suspect that the costs of further litigation will preclude further litigation and the eventual appeal.

I think it's a very important case; we'll be exploring it in more depth in connection with an upcoming CAALRS collection seminar. Keep an eye on this blog, and/or for information on the date, time and other subjects to be covered.

CAALRS, and this blog are all sponsored by the law firm of Hobbs & Olson, L.C.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

UCIOA Consideration Postponed

Marla Mott-Smith Bowers, Chair of the Utah Legislative Action Committee (ULAC), has advised that the Utah Legislature will not be considering the adoption of the Uniform Common Ownership Interest Act this session, as had been hoped and anticipated. From her press release:
Due to the magnitude of UCIOA and Legislative Research time restraints, Senator Greg Bell will not submit UCIOA this session. Instead, he will submit it during the interim session to be held sometime in May or June, 2009.

Senators Michael Waddoups and Greg Bell recognize the need in Utah for the type of comprehensive act we have proposed and remain committed to the passage of UCIOA.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get Your Pools and Spas Fixed NOW!

Last Friday's uccai meeting addressed pool safety and the need to modify your pools pursuant to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act; seven months ago I suggested in this post that you shouldn't even have waited for the law to take effect before modifying your pools and spas. (The law took effect in December.)

Now, unfortunately, there's news of another unfortunate death due to a pool drain. Five-year-old Linnea Rose Oldham of Snyderville, Utah was killed in a tragic drain-related incident while vacationing in Mexico; according to the article in the Park Record, the family wants the story to get out, in hopes that it will prevent other similar tragedies.

Please, if your association's pools and spas have not been modified, shut them down and get them fixed now.

My thoughts and condolences to Linnea's family and loved ones.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Happening Here, Too!

No, this is not an alarmist blog entry about Jon Huntsman's support of civil unions for gay couples. That's not the subject of this blog.

What I'm referring to is the stripping of units that are being foreclosed, which I blogged about last month, when I was live blogging from Palm Springs.

KSL is reporting that some foreclosed homeowners in Utah are stripping and/or vandalizing their foreclosed homes. According to the article, "Michael Leavitt, a home inspector, says the bigger problem comes when people buy foreclosed homes at an auction and don't actually see the house."

(The article didn't say, but I don't think that's our former governor Michael Leavitt, although sources do say that he recently lost his job...)

Apparently here, as in Florida, both theft and/or vandalism occasionally follow foreclosures. Once again, vigilance and observation of foreclosed units seems to be prudent.

Housing Tax Breaks

Yesterday's New York Times has an article on the proposed housing and other tax breaks under the proposed stimulus plan; for homes purchased after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, "first time homebuyer" couples can receive up to $7,500 tax credit. "First Time Homebuyers" are defined broadly; there are phase outs for higher income categories.

All of this is subject to change, of course, as the House and Senate work to reconcile their bills.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Interesting Planning Meeting in Park City

Wednesday night's meeting of the Park City Planning Commission ought to be a little more interesting than most; on the agenda is consideration of the proposed Treasure Hill Development, a rather large (as you can see) proposed development in Park City.

Time and energy permitting, I plan to attend. If I do, I'll let you know what happens.

Here's a link to the 360 page agenda for Wednesday's meeting. (Note that a mere 170 pages deal with this proposed project.)

New Legislation Watch

I've added a new Utah Legislature Watch Widget; the top left corner of this blog will be devoted, at least through the duration of the legislature, to monitoring the progress of bills related to condominiums and other types of community associations. I'm going to skip the liquor bills and the "message bills"; you can watch those elsewhere.

The list should be updated automatically; we'll see how it works.

And if there are any other bills that are related to the industry and which you think should be posted, please let me know.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Congratulations to the New Utah CMCAs.

The National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM) has announced that five Utah association managers became certified as Certified Managers of Community Associations during the latter half of 2008.

The new Utah CMCA recipients include:

Kevin Flewell | West Jordan, UT
Jeffrey Holt | Kaysville, UT
Jennifer Jones | West Jordan, UT
Kathie Savage | Park City, UT
Cheryl Wagoner | Lehi, UT

The CMCA signifies that a manager has passed NBC-CAM's national exam and met the requirements for managing condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations.

To obtain CMCA certification, managers must complete a 16-hour classroom course, the Essentials of Community Association Management, and pass the NBC-CAM CMCA Examination. (Since these recipients were all students of mine, I can personally attest that they were good students, and well instructed in their 16-hour course.)

Certified managers must adhere to the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct and take continuing education courses for recertification. CMCA recipients who don't comply with the Standards of Professional Conduct are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or revocation of the credential.

NBC-CAM is the first and only national organization created solely to certify community association managers and to help consumers identify managers who have demonstrated fundamental competency and knowledge in this profession.

Get Your Butts Out of Here!

The city of Belmont, California passed an ordinance in November of 2007, which is becoming effective this month; the ordinance prohibits smoking in:
(3) Multi-unit residence common areas; except that a landlord or common interest development may designate a portion of the outdoor area a smoking area. A designated smoking area:
(i) must be located at least twenty (20) feet from any operable window or door used by the public of an indoor area of a multi-unit residence where smoking is prohibited;
(ii) must not include, and must be at least twenty (20) feet from, outdoor areas primarily used by children including, but not limited to, areas improved or designated for play or swimming;
(iii) must be no more than twenty-five (25) percent of the total outdoor area of the premises for which it is designated;
(iv) must have a clearly marked perimeter;
(v) must be identified by conspicuous signs; and
(vi) must not overlap with any area in which smoking is otherwise prohibited by this chapter or other provisions of this Code, state law, or federal law.
(4) Individual units of multi-unit residences, if such units share at least one common floor or ceiling with another such unit.

A copy of the ordinance is available here.

So, unless you are in a single family residence in Belmont, you'll need to get your butt outside, if you want to have a smoke.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I Saw This One Coming...

A Sacramento woman has been ordered not to bring her "service pit bull" to classes at the American River College; she says he gives her "protection" and a thirty minute advance warning of epileptic seizures; she also alleges "he's been certified through the county as a service animal". County officials dispute that, saying that they don't certify service animals.

My source is this story; if I find more on this controversy, I'll post it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Saving Beaver County

The Utah Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday in the case of Save Beaver County v. Beaver County, which confirmed the rights of the citizens of Beaver County to challenge, by referendum, the County's approval of the proposed Mount Holly Club.

The Supreme Court opinion succinctly described the proposed Mount Holly Club:

As planned, Mt. Holly is a gated club with an 18-hole golf course, a private ski resort, and up to 1,204 residential units.

A private ski resort ?!?!?!

The proposed plan met with some opposition, but Beaver County proceeded to adopt an ordinance to the land code, and published its "Notice of Adoption of Ordinance" on May 12, 2007. That same day, twelve residents requested applications for referendum petitions. These petitions were filed, seeking a vote by the residents in the November 2008 election. 845 signatures were obtained; more than enough to support the referendum.

The opinion sets forth a lengthy analysis as to whether the County was acting administratively or legislatively, but ultimately held that the County's action was legislative, thereby triggering the citizens' right to a referendum, which the Court appears to consider rather important:

Because the power of the people to legislate directly through referenda is a constitutionally guaranteed right, it is the responsibility of this court to “defend it against encroachment and maintain it inviolate".

Hence the voters will get to decide, in the end, whether Mount Holly Club will be allowed. (Although my strong suspicion is that the current economic conditions may have already doomed Mount Holly Club.)