Good Ideas Ignored – Bill Bengen
The concept of uniting the two SaddleBrooke HOAs is hardly new. “Brookers” have talked about it for a long time, as the obvious imperfections of a two-HOA system emerged. It may surprise many residents, however, that committees of their own HOA boards have been advocating such a course for years!
For example, in January 2017, in a report to the HOA1 Board of Directors, the HOA1 Long Range Planning Committee made the following recommendation (page 14):
“ SaddleBrooke One should consider combining with SaddleBrooke Two and begin to operate as one community in terms of marketing. The economies of scale speak for themselves. Attempting to market the two communities independently one from another, and in competition with each other, will prove fruitless considering the competition we will face from Robson and other developers. The idea of establishing a Welcome Office on-property and sharing the costs with SaddleBrooke Two makes good fiscal sense. The appearance of SaddleBrooke as one entity, as opposed to two separate communities, will be stronger in competition with other developers.”
Since that time, SaddleBrooke 1 and SaddleBrooke 2 have continued to market themselves separately, through their own websites. There is no “SaddleBrooke” website on the internet to represent the entire community (although, interestingly, “Wikipedia” still treats us as a single unit.) This is a great loss for cohesive feelings in our community,
The entire January 2017 report is worth reading, as it contains may forward-looking suggestions to improve the SaddleBrooke community, under topics such as “Marketing” and “Amenities”. Sadly, however, it appears that few, if any, were ever acted upon. Click here to download the entire report.
An even more comprehensive recommendation was made in March 2020 in the “SaddleBrooke Long-Range Strategic Plan.” This report was issued jointly by the HOA1 Long Range Planning Committee and the HOA2 Strategic Planning Committee. It formulates the concept of “One SaddleBrooke” in considerable detail. Following are crucial excerpts from this prescient document (pages 5-6):
“The following are joint (HOA1 and HOA2) recommendations focused on strategic direction for the community. “One SaddleBrooke” is the overarching long-term strategic recommendation. One SaddleBrooke is followed by recommendations surrounding marketing, shared services, golf, restaurants, facilities, and the best use of resources.
“Current weaknesses/threats – Separate HOAs with varied Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC&Rs), rules and policies, Architectural Landscaping Committee (ALC) guidelines, rules/enforcement, common area practices, HOA dues, websites, communications, vision/mission statements, separate patrols, and duplicate expenses creates an inconsistent customer experience and can be confusing to existing homeowners and new and potential buyers.
“Current opportunities – Plan for and work to create One SaddleBrooke through unification efforts like a master association or merger to affect consistency, create economies of scale, maximize efficiency, effectiveness and value to residents. This multi-year effort will provide a framework for the BODs to adopt the changes necessary to to future-proof the community and attract buyers. This effort will require a well-thought-out joint roadmap where both both BODS agree in principle and willingly complete their due diligence, including gathering feedback from residents, which will lead to a formal community vote. The roadmap will be continuously modified to assure the highest value to residents as well as reflect changes in demographics, technology, facility and amenity demand, and other changing factors.
“Key considerations – The committee recognizes that this effort will take multiple years to achieve. Some residents in both HOAs have varying concerns about One SaddleBrooke, with the financial differences being the most frequent concern expressed. With the right level of cooperative strategic planning and tactical execution, the committee believes that over time any real or perceived issues can be resolved. The key is to get the process started.”
Issued almost two years ago, the recommendations of the report have yet to find favor with the HOA boards. It’s fair to say that the concept of “One SaddleBrooke” has been ignored.
“The key is to get the process started.” The last phrase of the above excerpt should serve as a clarion call for residents of SaddleBrooke. Despite the many apparent benefits of unification, the unification effort has fallen into a ditch. It’s up to us, the homeowners, to hoist it out of the ditch and set it back in motion. United SaddleBrooke is intended to be the vehicle to get the job done. If not us, who? If not now, when?
United SaddleBrooke Club Research Committee