Recently the two SaddleBrooke HOA Boards issued a joint statement, distributed to the entire SaddleBrooke community, which made two major points:
1. The two boards had considered the concept of merger and rejected it
2. The two boards committed to increased cooperative efforts
United SaddleBrooke, was prominently mentioned in the first paragraph of the joint statement. Frankly, we are quite gratified by this, as it indicates that our hard work of the past several months has not gone unnoticed. We wonder whether such a memo would ever have appeared if it were not for our organization’s efforts to promote unification.
First: United SaddleBrooke remains committed to the long-term goal of merger of the two SaddleBrooke HOAs. This is the best long-term solution to the problems that have troubled our community in recent years. The joint statement refers to several potential obstacles to a merger, including costs, board time, legal issues, Robson’s continued involvement in the community, etc. Curiously, it does not mention the numerous benefits of a merger, which are apparent to our many supporters, and which account for our rapid growth as an organization.
We reject any analysis of the viability of a merger that focuses solely on costs and ignores benefits. It is hard to understand how anyone can reach a sound decision while considering only half of the factors involved. We believe that the two boards should have solicited comments from the entire community, including their own Long-Range and Strategic Planning committees, which have previously advocated for “One SaddleBrooke”.
Edward Robson (principal of Robson Communities, Inc., the developer of SaddleBrooke), publicly stated that permitting the separation of HOA1 and HOA2 in 1994 was “the worst business decision I ever made.” His opinion commands respect, as it represents the wisdom of fifty years developing first-class adult communities. It contradicts the opinion in the Boards’ joint statement that “We think our system of dual governance is a strength, not a weakness.” This biased statement is completely unsupported by facts, and ignores the day-to-day experience of residents, who have been subjected to an ongoing parade of inter-board disputes, costly lawsuits, diverging and confusing rules and policies, and general disharmony. Centralization is, in fact, exactly what SaddleBrooke needs. If splitting HOA governance were such a great idea, we would see it catch on in communities nationwide. Yet, there is no rush by others to adopt such a dubious concept, anywhere.
The two boards also claimed that the eight-year Reciprocal Use Agreement (RUA), which was negotiated in 2021 “has been and should continue to be the foundation of the relationship between the two homeowner’s associations.” The RUA is a poor substitute for a merger and is open for re-negotiation in six years. It is a flawed, short-term mechanism to share amenities and was almost defeated by the homeowners of HOA2. Please visit www.unitedsaddlebrooke.org for our analysis of the RUA under the “Facts” tab.
Second: United SaddleBrooke has been advising our supporters for some time that we consider the prospects for a merger in the near term unlikely due to various issues. Our best chances for success lie in the second half of this decade, six to seven years out. Doing nothing during that period risks current problems becoming worse, so we have been advocating, in the interim, increased cooperation between the two HOA boards, to mitigate current divisions and inefficiencies.
This approach is exactly the one the two boards proposed in their joint statement. So, for now, the interests of United SaddleBrooke and the two HOA boards appear to be aligned. Therefore, we commend the two HOA boards for recognizing the need for increased cooperation (although their reasons differ from ours), and planning steps to achieve it. Our organization will enthusiastically support any substantial and legitimate efforts to increase cooperation between the two HOAs, which will benefit all SaddleBrooke residents.
United SaddleBrooke proposes the two HOA boards include US in the process of developing increased inter-board cooperation. We have a lot to offer: (1) We are a large (and growing) organization of hundreds of SaddleBrooke homeowners with a strong interest in the outcome. (2) We have devoted months of thought, research, and vigorous effortto the subject of cooperation, and believe we have valuable ideas to offer. (3) We can serve as a conduit to help explain proposed changes to our supporters and recruit their support. We believe that the conscientious efforts toward cooperation/unification by hard-working HOA board members deserve the recognition and support they deserve.
In summary, United SaddleBrooke strongly disagrees with the HOA Boards’ recommendation to ignore the potential benefits that a merger may bring. We whole-heartedly encourage current and future Boards to engage the community in open discussion and to pursue fact-based research regarding potential costs and benefits that are currently unknown.
At the same time, we are thrilled to learn that the two HOA boards plan to move toward greater cooperation. We will be watching with great interest to see how this new level of commitment unfolds. We all look forward to the time when SaddleBrooke can once again feel like “One Big Happy Family.”
Board of Directors of United SaddleBrooke