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The Rancho Murieta Association board deferred action on exclusive use and how to use an expected surplus of about $200,000 at a meeting Tuesday night. In one of its  few actions of the evening, the board approved reducing the fine for open garage doors from $100 to $25.

The meeting, lasting more than three hours, began with a half-hour presentation by Sacramento Municipal Utility District Director Nancy Bui on the “smart meters” about to be installed at 1,400 Rancho Murieta homes.

Bui called the meters the foundation for a multi-million-dollar "smart grid" that will make more efficient use of electrical power and enable two-way communication between the utility and customers. Previous coverage on the meter installation is available here.

General Manager Nick Arther said staff has been working with the association’s legal counsel to end the impasse on granting exclusive use leases to owners of circle, cottage, and townhouse lots, and would present the options next month. In the meantime, the matter will be discussed at the Architectural Review Committee meeting 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the RMA Building.

This class of lots is identified in the CC&Rs and a 1977 county ordinance as qualifying for a lease of up to 1,200 square feet of common area for patios, pools, decks and fencing. The RMA has been trying to reconcile the common area leases with a law that took effect in 2006.


Nancy Bui


SMUD Director Nancy Bui explained the utility's plans for new meters.

President Jim Moore reported that a legal opinion from RMA counsel says Murieta Townhouses Inc. can proceed with an election to change MTI’s CC&Rs without seeking a 60 percent vote of approval from the entire RMA membership. Townhouse owners are also RMA members and pay dues to both organizations. The townhouse association is seeking to reduce dues by changing its CC&Rs to reduce townhouse maintenance responsibilities. The proposal has its critics. A letter from one townhouse owner that was read at the meeting questioned going forward with the “horrendous change” in the CC&Rs.

The board approved a $25 fine for open garage door violations. Director Mel Standart pointed out the rule for garage doors stays the same but the fine is reduced from $100.  The rule is based on a CC&R that requires garage doors to be kept closed except when vehicles go in or out, or to provide ventilation to someone working in the garage.

The board received 35 responses from members during the public comment period on the change. Only four were in favor of the rule, Moore said.

For safety reasons, Community Services District Security officers notify residents when their garage doors are open at night, but they don't issue citations.

The motion passed on a 5-1 vote, with Director Mike Martel casting the dissenting vote.

The RMA’s negative member equity of more than $700,000 is a tax matter and not a financial statement issue, staff and board members said at Tuesday’s meeting.

The negative equity balance means  the $200,000-plus surplus expected in this year’s budget won’t create a tax burden for the association and won’t have to used within the year when it’s carried over to 2010. Directors talked about using the surplus for remodeling the RMA Building. Staff will bring back plans for using the money next month. Previous coverage is available here.

With the absence of Director Roy Harmon, the board deadlocked 3-3 on two votes on the same issue: how dues and basic cable programming costs should appear on the 2010 dues coupons.

Three of the directors -- Jim Moore, Andy Keyes and Mel Standart -- voted to present a dues assessment of  $118.70 and a separate fee of $22.30 for basic cable programming costs. Directors Dick Cox, Mike Martel and Candice Koropp voted to have dues appear as the total of the two, $141, although members would be able to opt out of paying for cable programming. The board voted first on the split, and then on the combined cost, with the same result.

The board voted to approve driveway parking variances approved by ARC but deadlocked on a vote to support the committee’s denial of other variances. Moore maintained the committee had the power to deny the variances.

Committee power was also an issue in the board’s consideration of a contract for the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area channel. Keyes said since the Finance and the Communications committees had already turned down the contract, it shouldn’t appear on the agenda for board action. Moore said the board makes the final decision. The board vote was 5-1 against adding the channel to basic cable. Referred to in previous RMA discussions as "the Giants’ channel," the channel would have added about $3 to monthly programming costs for basic cable.

The board unanimously approved sending a revision of compliance procedures prepared by the Governing Documents Committee out to the membership for a 30-day comment period.

The board also approved sending a letter to AT&T asking if the company plans to bring its U-verse product here. U-verse offers bundled services that include digital TV programming and Internet access.

The board approved having an exercise program for seniors with agility issues at the RMA Building. The business would take the place of the preschool, which is moving out of the building, according to Martel.      

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