REVITALIZATION Rumor Central

  FAQs

Question:  “Why all or nothing instead of one at a time?”

  • Answer:  Doing the four segments of Revitalization one at a time would be considerably more expensive than doing it as a single project. If done separately there would be four times the overhead cost, it would require four project managers, and there would be no economies of scale. As single projects, we would not obtain a Developer’s Agreement from the county, an agreement such as this reduces regulatory requirements and fees. We need to start these projects now while interest rates are low and if we do them separately they will be far more expensive.

Question:  “Is it true that dues will increase by more than $200.00 per month if this measure passes?”

  • Answer:   No, this is not true. Dues are currently $76.04 per month for developed lots. If the Revitalization measure passes, it would increase monthly dues and assessments by an amount not to exceed $36.00 per month. This would be a maximum of $112.04.

Question: “And things like this never end up within budget! So, where would that leave us if there were cost overruns?” (See following question and answer)

Question:  “There is a high likelihood of construction overruns, particularly when the community center could be 18,000-26,000 square feet. What goes in that center could also dramatically alter construction costs?” 

  • Answer:  The project has an average contingency of 15% and is the best estimate of how much it will cost as provided by Wilson Engineering. Wilson Engineering is confident that this is a fair estimate of costs. However, should cost overruns occur due to unforeseen structural issues then the Project would need to be down-scoped to stay within the loan not to exceed $12Million as per the ballot measure. The project will be monitored monthly by a professional construction project manager who will ensure that it remains within scope.

Question: “There is a provision for funding up to $1.6Million to immediately fund road repair – is this adequate? Will it address all the potholes that are written about? Is this mere icing on the cake to prettify the Revitalization Plan?”

  • Answer:  The Board has approved $411,826 for 2017 Road construction which will include the repair of the significantly damaged portions of our roads so that the $1.6 million micro-seal will secure the roads from failure. This is an integrated comprehensive approach that is not “icing on the cake” but rather long term strategic road management. 

      The worst roads are being fixed this year and are funded out of the current Roads budget. If Revitalization passes, 2018 roads funds will be used to completely repair the balance of damaged roads including potholes paving the way for the application of micro-sealant. This comprehensive plan was begun over a year ago – it is not a band aid. 

Question: “How will we be guaranteed that all of the new construction will be properly maintained and how will that maintenance be paid for (without further increase in dues)?” (See following question and answer)

Question: “What are the estimated operating costs for the new building(s)? Please describe how these estimates were made, and what assumptions they are based upon?”

  • Answer:  Of our 24 structures, totaling 92,446 ft2 at the start of 2017, the Association will have removed 64% at completion of Revitalization.  Those 59,830 ft2 of demolished facilities comprise the majority of our urgent maintenance backlog that is called out in our Reserve Study; they have no warranties and are costly to maintain.  Assuming Revitalization is approved, the Association would also build three new buildings adding back in ~ 30,000 ft2 bringing our facility portfolio up to roughly 69,830 ft2; which is a 25% decrease of buildings for us to maintain.How will we ensure maintenance will be performed?  We will do this by having all of our assets loaded into a Maintenance Program that schedules the work out on a yearly basis.  As part of our Reserve Study update just completed, we tasked our Reserve Analyst to help identify a preventative maintenance program suited for Sudden Valley’s needs.  After extensive reviewing, a perfect match was identified, the BOD approved its funding, and we are now in process of initiating the program.  It will take 4 to 6 months before that program is fully integrated with our financial software and workers fully trained. Once operational, all of our fixed assets will be uploaded, their maintenance requirements identified and work scheduled.The bottom line is that after Revitalization we will have 25% fewer facilities to maintain, they will be newer facilities requiring less maintenance, and there will be a program in place for ongoing scheduled maintenance.

Rumor: “When you sell your home you will have to pay a $5,000 bill.”
Question: “Is there going to be a ‘due upon sale’(or some other term meaning that the balance left of the assessment is due upon a sale) requirement of the proposed special assessment, so if a person sells their house (or lot), the total left on the assessment is due upon the sale of such?”

  • Answer:  No you will not. The loan obligation runs with the property like any other dues or assessments.
    • If you sell during the three year construction draw down period, future loan obligations will be assumed by the new owner.
    • If you sell after three years and have made a one-time lump sum payment, there is no further obligation for the new owner to make any payments.
    • And if you sell after three years and had chosen to make monthly payments, the new owner  may assume the obligation for the remaining payments.

Question:  “We received an anonymous postcard last week urging us to vote no on revitalization because it would cost us over $18,000. That is nowhere near the cost that has been presented. Is this a rumor?”

  • Answer:  Sudden Valley did not send out postcards and therefore cannot answer this question. We do know total member costs for Revitalization(please refer to the second FAQ question) will be less than half of this amount and will be substantially less if a member chooses to make a one-time payment instead of monthly payments through the life of the loan.

Rumor:  “Wealthier members will pay more than those who cannot pay the balloon payment.”

  • Answer:  After the 3 year construction draw down period, all members will be given the same option of making a one-time lump sum payment or making monthly payments for the life time of the loan. It is up to each individual member to select the payment option that is right for them.

Rumor:  SVCA has some of the highest dues in the country.”

  • Answer:  This is not correct. Sudden Valley actually has some of the lowest dues in the country for a community of this size and complexity.

Question: “What is the difference between a Development Agreement and a Developer?”

  • Answer:  A Development Agreement is authorized by Washington State’s RCW 36.70b.170. It is a voluntary contract between the county and Sudden Valley, detailing the obligations of both parties and specifying the standards and conditions that will govern development of the property. It will not allow Sudden Valley to bypass regulations, but as part of a comprehensive project plan, it can allow leeway in some areas that would not be approved for only a portion of an overall plan. The Wilson Final Plan Scope states, “At the Marina, the project will benefit from a Developer’s Agreement with Whatcom County that will allow uses within the shoreline that do not already exist and would not be otherwise permitted. The new uses will be balanced by improving habitat in other areas and providing an overall benefit to the shoreline.” RCW 36.70b.170Development agreements—Authorized.(1) A local government may enter into a development agreement with a person having ownership or control of real property within its jurisdiction. A city may enter into a development agreement for real property outside its boundaries as part of a proposed annexation or a service agreement. A development agreement must set forth the development standards and other provisions that shall apply to and govern and vest the development, use, and mitigation of the development of the real property for the duration specified in the agreement. A development agreement shall be consistent with applicable development regulations adopted by a local government planning under chapter 36.70A RCW.In this situation, a developer is a person who develops a real estate project. Since Revitalization was announced and became a real possibility, Sudden Valley has been approached by several developers and other investors offering to collaborate in building storage facilities and from a Bellingham club to construct a cover over the main pool so it could be used year round. Sudden Valley is in preliminary discussions on these projects but has not negotiated any agreements. The YMCA contract for the main pool operation does not include winter use and will remain for the summer months only.

Question:  “Is the library going to be housed in the new community center? If so, what amount of rent will they be paying for using our new space? Official and non-official sources have stated that the library will be housed inside of the new community center and that no rental agreement has been made at this time.”

  • Answer:  There has been no negotiation with any potential occupant of a new Community Center and there will be none unless Revitalization is approved. 

Question:    “There have been several statements online from official and non-official sources stating that the marina may be turned over to private investors who will then (using their own money) improve the marina and recoup the improvement costs through fees. If the marina is privatized, and no SVCA money is spent on revitalization of the marina, then why is the loan amount not changing? This is an approximate savings of $2 million, yet the loan amount is remaining the same?”

  • Answer:   Neither the Marina, nor any other area of Sudden Valley, will be turned over to a developer. We have had several tentative offers from investors who would like to contract with SVCA for opportunities that are not covered by the Revitalization loan. If the Revitalization loan is approved, we will review all of them.

Question:  “A private business would want to fund a pool cover, which is primarily utilized by the YMCA?”

  • Answer:  The YMCA does not have a lease for the pool during September through May and Arne-Hanna Aquatic Center is over-subscribed and turning away business. When Sudden Valley removed the year-round cover from the scope of work to reduce its cost, a member of the community informed a local non-profit club of the opportunity to place a cover over the Main Pool in Sudden Valley. That organization contacted the Board/GM requesting a business conversation to discuss a potential lease with them paying to place a cover over Sudden Valley’s pool. To date, two conversations have been held with this non-profit. The YMCA has been informed and is highly supportive of this venture. Conversations are expected to conclude in July. The potential of this business venture is “for-profit” for Sudden Valley. 

Question:  “What is the status of the wetland reclassification in Area Z and how will that affect resolving the hazardous waste situation in Area Z?” 

  • Answer:  The Association has contracted with an environmental firm to engage the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate and advocate for a jurisdictional decision stating the areas in Area Z will not be defined as wetlands. This is active now and is expected to take 6-9 weeks for a preliminary decision from the Army Corps. The basis of that decision will set the path forward for addressing and resolving the contamination in the soil which is below the man-made wetlands. The Board has directed that the clean-up will start and complete during this evolution; it is not to be kicked down the road. 

Question:  “What data supports your cost estimates?”  

  • Answer:  Cost estimates were provided by a professional certified Cost Estimator using a combination of commercial standards, designs, and actual costs. The estimate is plus or minus 15%, which means that you must hold a minimum of 15% of your costs in contingency reserve for worst case scenario planning. 

Question:  “After the GM and Board President met with some Condo President’s it was told that they informed the Condos that should Revitalization pass, they would have their parking lots paved by SVCA. To my knowledge no condo parking lots are or have ever been on SVCA list of roads.”

  • Answer:  As discussed at the 6/8/2017 Board meeting, the condominium roads, like all other roads in the Association, are paid for with Member dues and condominium owners pay dues like everybody else. The parking areas and keyways need to be included in all future Roads engineering plans. Not including these areas creates the possibility of members having inadequate parking, which then leaves Members and guests having to park on the side of the roads damaging our ditches and swales.

Question:  “How will our roads, park, and trails be fixed and/or maintained under this plan?”

  • Answer:  Funds to repair the worst sections of roads have already been allocated by the Board for 2017. If Revitalization passes, maintenance will be completed using a micro-sealant. Once this work has been done, our current Roads budget will be sufficient to fund culvert repairs and keep up with minimal ongoing projected road work. Revitalization will fund Capital expenditures, including Roads. Parks and trails are Operating expenses and are funded out of the Operations budget. 

Question:  “Can you provide a link to the most up-to-date info on the Revitalization?”

  • Answer:  Go to suddenvalley.com and click on “SV Revitalization Plan” on the left side of the page.

Question:  “Will the Library be moved from the current location to the new barn?” (see question and answer below)

Question:  “What will be on the first floor versus the second floor of the new barn?”

  • Answer:  That is an option, just like retaining the YMCA, Café, meeting rooms, and CTK having meeting space.  Several options have been proposed for occupancy in the new Community Center. Negotiations will not be started with any of these potential occupants unless Revitalization passes. The one certainty is that the community will have a meeting area equal to or larger than that of the current Dance Barn. Programming out space assignments such as which floor location, size, power outlets, lighting, utilities, fixtures, etc. will not occur until programming begins during design. This is standard business practice. 

Question:  “It has been rumored that during the revitalization voting process, all non-votes (meaning votes not turned in or returned) would be considered a “yes” vote for the revitalization plan. Is this true?”

  • Answer:  No, this is not true. Passage of this measure requires that 60% of the votes cast be in favor. 

Rumor: “Noting will be done in any gate except 1 and 2, except for roads.” (see following rumor)

Rumor: “60% of the community will not benefit from the Revitalization.”

  • Answer:   Revitalization will benefit the entire community by increasing home values throughout Sudden Valley. Even if today’s Members don’t use all – or any – of the amenities available, a buyer will be more inclined to purchase a home in a community with all of these recreational and educational opportunities.

Question: “If proposed buildings are approved and built will current leases we have with business or groups still be valid?”

  • Answer:  They will still be valid if the agreement between Sudden Valley and these entities does not essentially change because of Revitalization. An example would be the need to examine the YMCA lease to see if changes have occurred because of a new facility.

Question: “Has the GM, Board, Finance, or any other committees or persons involved in the project for a new rec corridor building discussed or planned the moving of Administration into new building space?”

  • Answer:  This option has been discussed. With the downsized proposal for Revitalization, the consensus has been to keep Administration where it is. 

Question: “How can we be sure the funds won’t be mismanaged?”

  • Answer:  Managing the funds is priority # 1 for the Association.  The Bank and SVCA will jointly hire an independent Project Manager and Construction Manager who are responsible for tracking and managing the entire project.  The Project Manager shall report to the Association and Bank monthly using very specific tracking tools called Schedule Performance Index and Cost Performing Index.  Additionally, the Bank has an independent inspector audit on a random basis. 

Question: “How can we know that dues won’t continue to increase every year?”

  • Answer:  According to our bylaws, dues and assessments require that 60% of the Members voting approve. The amount of dues and assessments is up to the voting Members.

Question:  “Please clarify the barn 7 story and provide a timeline that lead up to its demolition.  Why was it torn down before there was a plan in place on what to do with its footprint?  I understand there is a 12 month time frame to submit a building permit if our community decides to do so.  Can an extension be requested or are all options gone after 12 months?  I have read rumors it was done intentionally by the board to force revitalization “down our throats”.  I don’t believe that and I think it would be helpful to lay out the facts to dispel this rumor.  I understand the proposed new community center will be built on the barn 8 footprint, is that right?  If that is the case, then the barn 7 footprint will be paved and used for parking (and therefore the 12 month time frame is a non-issue)?” (See Following Question)

Question:  “There is no 12 month rule for rebuilding the demolished barn. It is a ploy to get SV to build a library for Friend of South Whatcom Library. Can you give documentation of the 12 month rule so people can accept that we are under the gun and provide some explanation of why an SGM vs. AGM?” (See Following Question)

Question: “We have a one year time limit to build on the barn lot? True or False?”

  • Answer:  Barn 7 was one of the original structures in the Recreation Corridor. It was never upgraded and was used for years as a storage area or as a staging area for maintenance staff. In 2010 a group called the Friends of the Sudden Valley Library formed and asked if they could take this unused and unimproved space and build a library in it. Although it was in obvious need of TLC, neither the Friends group, nor Sudden Valley staff, nor Whatcom County while they were doing construction progress inspections knew the real extent of the issues. It was only after the Friends had raised nearly $400,000 and completed work on the library that Sudden Valley decided to make some improvements to the second story, and powder post beetles were discovered inside of the beams. Closer investigation revealed that the infestation had caused serious structural damage. Sudden Valley engaged an entomologist to assess the full extent of the damage. Further infestations were randomly found by boring and cutting into structural beams and walls on the first floor also. Deeming the building to be structurally unsafe, the library was moved to the Adult Center. Sudden Valley checked the structural beams periodically and learned that they were continuing to move. In late 2016 concern grew that Barn 7 was in imminent danger , and so it was demolished before its collapse could cause injuries.There are several different rules and interpretations for the 12 month time frame. Negotiation with the county and a commitment to build may extend this deadline for some period. But this time period will not be unlimited.Revitalization funding will be used to build on the Barn 7 footprint. This will allow programs and events to continue in the Dance Barn during construction of the new facility. Even if the Barn 7 footprint were used for parking, that would still be treated as “construction”. The only acceptable use for that area would be to return it to a natural setting.

Question: How are low income folks supposed to pay for dues increase?” (See Following Questions)

Question: Don’t we have a lot of impoverished members who can’t afford any increases?”

  • Answer:  While it’s wonderfully compassionate and a socially responsible position to care for those less fortunate, this question is based on assumption without actual data to support it.  In fact, data on this important subject does exist.  The most recent US Census Data for Sudden Valley from 2015 shows that compared to a National Poverty average of 13.5%, owner-occupied households in Sudden Valley below the Poverty Rate are 1.8%.  The number of renters below the Poverty Rate in Sudden valley is slightly below the National average as well, but renters are not dues-paying Members who can vote for this Measure – owners are.That said, there definitely are Members who can’t afford the current dues – much less an increased amount.  In the past few years, around 40% of voting Members wished to pass a Bylaw change that would have allowed for a “sliding-scale” dues amount based on individual need.  That was not close to the number of votes needed to pass the measure.  But this new Board is trying again, currently formulating a similar measure to put on this year’s ballot for Members to decide on themselves.

Rumor: “There will be a dramatic increase in dues and there will be some sort of covenant that makes it difficult to sell.”

  • Answer:  It’s true that there will be an additional monthly assessment due on each lot of at most $36.00 for a period of at most 18 years.  An assessment, same as regular dues, is an encumbrance on each lot – but not a covenant that in any way would make it more difficult to sell.

Question: “What’s the rush to replace the marina?”

  • Answer:  In the next year, because of the length of the docks, we will be required to provide fire standpipes on them.  Also, because of the condition of dry slips being poor, many are empty this year causing a significant projected loss in revenue.  Filling in pot-holes is restricted due to watershed requirements – the type of gravel needed can’t be used, and is just a short-term band-aid fix.  The more comprehensive approach provided by the Revitalization Project is the only reasonable way that we can expect to have a Marina at all in 3 years. 

Question:  “It was apparent from some of the Board minutes that several committees were concerned that they had either not received information that they requested or had not had time to review said information, and questioned  if the July  vote date  should be moved. Those concerns were either not addressed or were dismissed by the GM or certain Board members.  So, it begs the question – why the push? Why not ensure that all committee requests for information are addressed and why not follow established processes?  It is particularly disturbing to know that a key committee asked for a plan with options and their request was ignored. There is a perception that the plan is being pushed by certain individuals without full transparency, and without due consideration of resident wishes.  Perception is reality in the eyes of many people and that may result in a “no” vote.”

  • Answer:  Each of these areas is being looked at separately to determine the best use and what will provide best value for the community. Both the airstrip and the campground have potential to provide outside income for the long term. Use of the rotunda area will be determined by doing a cost/benefit analysis of suggested uses. 

 

Question:  “Why we are building a new building for the library, when other county libraries are funded by Friends groups? IF the library is going to be housed in the new building, why isn’t the Friends group fund raising to share costs? Background: You know the background. This is a big and important question, and hasn’t yet been answered in this forum or on social media. Does SV owe something to the county library system due to what happened in the barn? Is that why the BOD pursues such strong support for housing the library with low rental costs and even when hearing (loudish) voices of opposition from members who are paying for this? I love the library – don’t get me wrong. And if the Friends group were fundraising to partner with us in planning, design, construction etc., I’d be chipping in! Or maybe their contribution will be furnishing the library & paying a reasonable lease? I think people just want to understand BEFORE saying YES.”  

  • Answer:  Although the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) doesn’t construct buildings, it does pay for everything else after they move in. They pay for furnishing the buildings, for staffing the buildings, and for all utilities. They provide the books, computers, programs, supplies, and staff expertise.Barn 7, one of the original structures in the Recreation Corridor, was never upgraded and was used for years as a storage area or as a staging area for maintenance staff. In 2010 a group called the Friends of the Sudden Valley Library formed and asked if they could take this unused and unimproved space and build a library in it. They took a building that was in obvious need of TLC and raised nearly $400,000 for this project before discovering that a powder post beetle infestation had made the structure unsafe. After 3 months, the library moved to the Adult Center where, unlike any other library facility, they pay rent equivalent to the amount that Sudden Valley was losing in rental of that facility.A large part of the community uses the library and wants it to remain here. Community members who used the Adult Center for meetings and rentals want it back. For these reasons, the library will receive consideration to use a portion of the new Community Center building along with other potential users. If selected, they will only use a portion of the building and will pay for furnishing the building, for staffing the building, and for all utilities. They will provide the books, computers, programs, supplies, and staff expertise.Sudden Valley doesn’t “owe something” to the library. But the library is one of the most used facilities in the community; you could say that the members are voting with their feet.

Question:   “It’s my understanding that one or more of the pools urgently needs major work.  Does the Pools Refurbishment scope of work include everything the pools need, and if not, what is the plan for getting that done?”

  • Answer:  The pools are being evaluated now to determine the scope of work to bring them into a maintainable 10-year viable condition.  That scope is being assembled by an Architect with specific knowledge of pools and requirements for federal and state legal compliance.  The final statement of work will be holistic; drains, pumps, filters, access, decks, markings, labels, plaster, steps, grounds.  From that, we will get a detailed estimate and place out to bid.  I am pushing for a bid package this September if possible.We have spoken to our main lender, they have offered a 10 year 3.125% fixed rate loan should we decide to fund separate from Revitalization, or if we do not have sufficient funds on hand to do the work.

Question:  “Is there any chance the BOD will agree to a variable-rate loan, or a loan that for some other reason risks the possibility that it cannot be fully repaid by charging each lot the maximum $36/month for the maximum 18-year term?” 

  • Answer:  We will not pursue or accept anything less than a fixed rate term loan set at the beginning of draw-down and good for the duration of the loan.  We have three lenders that have already agreed to those terms; we will not negotiate for the final rate until we know we are authorized by the membership to complete a loan.