United SaddleBrooke was created to represent the many members of our community who view the current two-HOA system of government as dysfunctional. Because there is no one single central authority that oversees the planning, governance, and management of SaddleBrooke, the community suffers. As might be expected, the two HOA boards have trouble recognizing this dysfunction, let alone implementing measures to correct it. It’s not really their fault. Although many of them feel as passionately as we do about our community, they are part of the “system”, and it is difficult to make changes to a system from within. United SaddleBrooke, positioned as we are outside the system, is a more effective agent for promoting change.
What is our organization’s strategy to restore viable government to SaddleBrooke?
A merger of the two HOAs seems the logical solution to restore sense to SaddleBrooke government. After all, this is the system employed by almost every other retirement community throughout the country. Central governance has been shown to work, even in communities larger than the combined SaddleBrooke HOAs (about 5,200 homes). It would solve virtually all the issues residents have complained about in recent years including: inter-board disputes, diverging rules and policies, duplication of services, and a weakening of community spirit.
However, there are several reasons why a full-out merger might not be realizable in SaddleBrooke immediately. For one, Robson Communities (RCI) continues to build out homes in the Preserve and has indicated it is not supportive of a merger while they do so (perhaps for another six years). Furthermore, financial parity between the two HOAs is an essential ingredient of a merger. HOA2 has been independent of RCI for only a few years and needs more time to build its financial strength (probably also requiring about six or more years.) Lastly, a merger requires two HOA boards enthusiastically committed to the concept, and willing to spend time and effort to develop a merger plan and implement it. The two existing HOA boards have announced publicly that they are opposed to the idea of merger, now or anytime in the future.
Therefore, United SaddleBrooke believes it is unwise to press for merger in the short-term. However, we also believe that six years is far too long to wait for the perfect conditions for a merger to appear. A lot of damage can be done to SaddleBrooke in that time, perhaps irreparable.
In the interim, our strategy is to advocate for intensive efforts in inter-HOA board cooperation, focused on areas which can provide large and immediate benefits to the residents of SaddleBrooke. These might include projects such as joint marketing, joint planning and financing of facilities and amenities, or joint issuance of consistent rules, regulations, and policies (for example. why have a 14-day minimum rental in one HOA and a 28-day minimum rental period in the other? Why does one HOA support pickleball as an amenity and the other does not? Why does one HOA’s restaurants add a mandatory service charge to all bills, when the other does not?) There are many other areas where cooperation could bear fruit for the community.
It appears that the two HOA Boards recognize the importance of this as well, as in their Joint Statement of May 2022 they made the following pronouncement:
“Both Boards are committed to meet periodically to continue to find ways in which to work together for the benefit of the whole……. It is the vision of both Boards to continue to build a Framework that future Boards will expand over time that will strengthen the bonds and interdependence between both Homeowners Associations. That is our commitment to you, our residents.”
United SaddleBrooke welcomes this statement of the two Boards and intends to hold both Boards accountable for its realization. We intend periodically to request details of future planned cooperation and report them to our supporters as soon as they become available. We will also lobby both Boards for cooperation in areas we believe will do the best for the community. Our recent resident survey made it clear that this is what residents want.
We will not support measures which we believe are primarily cosmetic or have minimal beneficial effects. We seek deep, lasting, meaningful cooperation which will make the community more efficient, more unified, and more competitive. If such measures are adopted by the two Boards, we will encourage our supporters to show their gratitude and appreciation to Board members. The two Boards have the opportunity to do an immense amount of good for SaddleBrooke if they seriously tackle the challenge they have set for themselves.