Committee stresses Rancho Santa Fe condo voting rights are a priority
The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s governing documents committee is working to correct a 50-year-old problem regarding giving Covenant condominium owners the right to vote. After the announcement in January that this round of bylaws and articles of incorporation amendments would not include condo voting rights, RSF Association President Ann Boon said the board received numerous emails and phone calls from condo owners expressing disappointment that the Association wasn’t moving forward with condo owner voting rights at this time.
“The seven of us do want condo owners to have a vote, it’s really kind of an issue of timing,” Boon said.
As board member and governing documents committee chair Fred Wasserman explained, there is a process that needs to be navigated correctly on this “complex” issue.
“The committee recommends that we do give condominium owners the vote, that’s never been an issue,” Wasserman said. “What we want to ask is to beg your indulgence. We want to do this as of July 1 when the committee reconvenes, make the necessary changes at that time and send it out to a vote of the membership.”
The are currently 88 condos and 19 condo associations and each is a member of the Covenant and has two designated property sites.
“The way it’s structured is the condominium association itself selects who from their membership can vote on Association matters,” Wasserman said. “They are not members of this Association, the two people who are designated, which is why we have this mess here. All they have is the right to vote.”
Historically, only those selected members were able to join the RSF Golf Club, although Wasserman said that problem was fixed when the board allowed any condo owner to be a member of the RSF Golf Club in 2014.
In order to make the voting right changes, the RSF Association needs to identify the president and officers of each condo association and obtain each association’s bylaws, articles and CC and Rs.
The members who are presently on the committee have agreed to serve on the new 2016 committee and resolve this issue, Wasserman said. They will then make a recommendation to the board regarding their findings.
“This is the process that we think we need to go through to do this correctly, we do not want to do this in a haphazard way or create problem where the board or Association gets sued by some dissonant member of the Association because we haven’t followed the correct process,” Wasserman.
The voting for the first round of bylaw amendments recommended by the committee will be on the ballot at the same time as the election of directors in May.
Those changes include eliminating the need to register to vote, every property will have two votes and getting rid of the nominating committee for the board of directors.
“We think we’ve accomplished a lot in this first round of drafts, those three important things,” said board member and committee member Mike Licosati. “The condo issue is more complex because we really don’t have control over that. If we were to now give condo owners the right to vote it could conflict with the individual condo associations’ governing documents which could open ourselves up to potential liability.”
Patricia Kramer, a condo owner for 14 years, expressed her disappointment in the delay.
“We would really like our vote,” Kramer said. “We would like to vote on the pool project, we are not getting our voices heard on that.”
She worries that refining the documents could take another 10 to 15 yearsm but Wasserman assured Kramer that it would not take 15 years, it would be done immediately.
“The onus is on the condo people to step up and do what we need to get done and we cannot do it in a vacuum and we can’t make these changes without the information,” Wasserman said. “Believe me this is going to get done as fast as we can get it done.”