Condo voting rights deemed a ‘process’

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association board of directors decided that following its January meeting, the topic of condominium voting rights needed to circle back for additional discussion. RSFA President Ann Boon said the item was placed on the February agenda because of the feedback it received from condominium owners.

“We received several letters, phone calls and emails from condominium owners expressing their disappointment that the board had postponed the decision to allow condominium owners the right to vote,” she said. “The seven of us do want condominium voters to have a vote.”

Boon noted how it was a matter of timing in the process. She then gave board director Fred Wasserman, who is also the chair of the governing documents committee chair, the floor for an overview.

According to Wasserman, the Covenant has a total of 88 condominiums and is comprised of 19 condominium associations. Each condominium association is a member of the Association and has two designated property sites, Wasserman said.

“Therefore, the way it’s structured, the condominium association itself selects who, from their membership of that individual condominium association, can vote on Association matters. They are nonmembers of the Association and a few people were designated,” Wasserman said. “It’s why we have this mess here.”

Wasserman called the issue complex and said it goes as far back as 50 years.

“We beg your indulgence. We ask you to let us do this as a dry run when this committee reconvenes and makes the necessary changes in the documents at that time and submit it out to the voting membership,” he said.

Wasserman said the challenge is that they need to amend the bylaws. And moving forward, they need to identify all the officers in each condominium association. Additionally, they need their governing documents because the Association has no records of this.

Wasserman pointed out that this is a process they need to do correctly and not haphazardly. While the board has agreed that condo owners should vote, he said, it does remain a 50-year-old problem.

Wasserman asked both Covenant members and condominium owners for patience as the governing documents committee wants to address this when the committee reconvenes July 1.

Once the changes are made, he said, preparations would be made and sent out to the membership for a vote.

RSFA board member and governing documents committee member Mike Licosati also addressed the board and members on the matter.

“The condo issue is more complex because we don’t really have control over that. If we were to now give condo owners the right to vote, it could conflict with individual condo associations governing documents, opening ourselves up to potential liability on that,” Licosati said.

Licosati noted that the Association does not really have control over whether individual condos amend their governing documents so they need to coordinate with the Association’s governing documents.

It needs to be in sync.

Licosati shared how this was a two-step process for the governing documents committee. The first round of provisions they made have been eliminating the need to register to vote, eliminating the nominating committee and giving every property owner two votes.

The voting for these amendments will be on the same ballot for the selection of new RSFA board members. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed out to voting members May 12.

“So let’s get the three really important things that we have accomplished in this first round of provisions,” he said, adding how after that is completed the condo owner issue would be addressed next. “I’m supportive of Fred’s approach on this.”

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