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Paul Venturella

“It’s exciting to be both your neighbor and your employee,” said the association’s new communications manager, Paul Venturella, when he was introduced by President Jim Moore at Tuesday’s meeting as the board, staff and audience members applauded.

The Rancho Murieta Association board took care of business at its January meeting in under 90 minutes Tuesday,  approving a contract for Fourth of July fireworks and post and cable fencing on the South pedestrian bridge access. Driveway parking continued to be a topic of discussion as the board granted two of three requests for driveway parking variances, including one the Architectural Review Committee voted to deny.

Earlier in the meeting, the board discussed the ARC’s request to rewrite the guidelines for approving driveway parking variances to make them more specific. Director Dick Cox, the ARC board representative, said the committee wanted “absolute, concrete things to follow.” He said he would consult with the committee and provide the board with specifics at next month’s meeting.

Director Vicky Lentz pointed out that the flow chart for the guidelines shows variance requests don’t come to the board if the ARC rejects them unless a resident appeals the decision to the board.

Later in the meeting, the board approved a variance the ARC rejected under guidelines the board adopted last year because the number of vehicles exceeded the number of drivers in the household.

Director Randy Jenco said he wasn’t sure the ARC should be making this type of denial, since it was up to the board to consider “special circumstances and make exceptions to the rule,” adding he believed an exception could be made for a resident who wanted to keep a nice car in the garage and a smaller, commuter vehicle in the driveway.

Director Roy Harmon termed using a fuel-efficient vehicle for commuting “a very green idea ... That’s very good for us all,” which prompted Director Candice Koropp to comment she didn’t see any vehicles listed in the variance application that fit that definition.  But Jenco said his point wasn’t about being green: “I say if a guy wants to save himself some money by driving a different kind of car, we ought not get in the way of that.”

“I agree with Randy. You should be able to have one car to beat around in,” President Jim Moore said after Cox asked why Moore, Harmon, Jenco and Andy Keyes voted to grant the variance. Cox, Koropp and Lentz voted against approval. Keyes asserted the board has a responsibility “to make amends” for homes with insufficient garage space, and can bend the rules. Lentz responded that residents have a choice of garage when they buy a house, and the board has the responsibility of upholding the CC&Rs.

Harmon concluded the board has “an obligation to come up with creative solutions. So, for instance, if you could come up with a way to build a really cool dog park and have some good covered parking so people can park some cars over there ... that’s good for everyone.”

The board upheld an ARC recommendation on a 5-2 vote, with Keyes and Harmon dissenting,  to deny a variance request because excessive storage precluded using the garage for parking cars.

Fencing approved for Riverview path

The board voted to approve a $26,272 contract for post and cable fencing for the path at Riverview Park that provides access to the pedestrian bridge on the South. Jenco, chair of the Maintenance Committee, called the fence “a safety issue.” Funding comes from exclusive use funds, which total about $90,000, according to Maintenance Manager Rod Hart.

Fireworks contract for July 4

The board approved a $13,300 contract for the July 4 fireworks display. The display will also require a $1,500 permit, said Candice Koropp, chair of the Recreation Committee.

Stonehouse Park projects

At Stonehouse Park, the community’s largest park, there are projects underway and others in the offing.

The soccer field will be leveled and reseeded at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000, said Randy Jenco, chair of the Maintenance Committee. He said the field is “in terrible shape” at the present time. Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said the soil will be amended with mulch from the maintenance yard.  

County-required electrical changes have delayed installation of additional playing field lights at the park, Hart said. The project is also awaiting approval to bore under Stonehouse Road to connect to Sacramento Municipal Utility District power, he added.

Improvements to the bocce ball court have been requested by a group of players, and the Maintenance Committee is exploring various options.

Escuela gate plan

The Escuela Drive will be paved up to Stonehouse Road, an ornamental iron gate will replace the chain-link one, and fencing will be added under an RMA plan to secure $75,000 in funding for the gate before a provision of the Mutual Benefit Agreement expires at the end of the year. The funds will come from the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers. Since the paving alone will cost $73,000, RMA funds will also be required for the project.  

Director Randy Jenco said the gate will be used for egress only at special events such as July 4 because of safety concerns.

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