Friday, 19 July 2024

HLVA building plan proves divisive

HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – A plan to replace existing structures at the gated Hidden Valley Lake subdivision has turned into a contentious issue, pitting a coalition of residents against the HVLA board of directors and management.

Spokesmen for the Hidden Valley Lake Association of Concerned Citizens say they are prepared to go to any lengths to block replacement of a building on Hartmann Road housing a restaurant, bar and golf pro shop, a community activity building and an administration building. All three of the buildings are reportedly at least 35 years old.

Strange as it seems, a possible scenario is that the HVLA members would, in effect, be suing themselves in the event the issue becomes a litigious matter.

The coalition is demanding that a decision on whether to go ahead on the construction project be put to a vote of the general HVLA membership.

But HVLA General Manager Rick Archbold says that moving ahead on what estimates have put in the range of a $10 million construction project is strictly a board decision, because it involves replacing older facilities.

A vote of the membership at large is required only if new facilities are to be built where none had existed before, he said.

In this case, Archbold says the subdivision’s general membership will never be allowed to vote on the construction project.

“I can’t answer for the board, but my opinion is no. Why? (Because) this is what board is to do ... repair, restore, maintain or replace ... and that’s right out of the civil code,” he said.

Archbold added he has told coalition leaders “they don’t have the right to demand a vote on replacing a facility.”

Thus, the battle lines are drawn.

So far, the coalition has delivered a petition protesting the project with 291 qualified signatures to the board, accompanied by a letter from Geoffrey A. Munroe, a Concord attorney.

The letter expresses the coalition’s position regarding submitting the decision on replacement facilities to a general election and sets forth guidelines on how an election should be conducted.

But while personally certifying that 291 signatures on the petition are HVLA members in good standing, Archbold scoffs at the letter..

“If you don’t react to that (Munroe’s letter), so what? ‘I’m going to sue you.’ For what? Not responding to your letter?” says Archbold, adding that he thinks the Concerned Citizens should get the money they paid Munroe back.

“They can require anything they want,” says Archbold. “The law is something we adhere to; not somebody who’s making this stuff up.”

Additionally, he said that by hiring Munroe the coalition had effectively cut off any possibility of direct conversations with the board and management and put future communications in the hands of attorneys. He said that he had warned coalition leader Alec McCourquodale this would happen.

“ ... So, now the association is going to be spending lots of money in talking about things we could have talked about for no money,” said Archbold, “but I’m assuming somebody is paying for this guy Munroe.”

Bob Tingey, a spokesman for the coalition, has expressed hopes that discussions between Munroe and the HVLA attorney could enable the two sides to “settle this out like gentlemen.”

And Archbold is hopeful that three “town hall” meetings, held on April 14 and 17, giving residents a “chance to be heard” on the replacement-building issue will ease some of the tension.

At the meetings, he said, a facilitator will collect the ideas for what Hidden Valley Lake residents would want included in new facilities.

“We are in a state of flux right now,” Archbold said. “This board and this management have no clue as to what we’re going to be building. The reason is we haven’t talked to the community. Everybody is going to come up with a different idea of what they think the function ought to be.”

Just how much cooperation the town meetings will get from the coalition remains to be seen. At the moment, Tingey said, the group is prepared to take its next step in May. One of those steps, Tingey told a group of homeowners in a meeting last month, could result in the homeowners in the HVLA suing themselves.

“We have two options,” he said. “Both of them are going to be expensive. One is an injunction to get this thing shut down – the other one is a recall of the board.”

Most of the coalition’s anger over the project is aimed at Archbold, whom they believe is dictating to the HVLA Board of Directors.

Regarding the board, Tingey said, “They’re spineless, weak people (who) let Archbold run the show, because he’s a very aggressive individual.”

Archbold disputes that, saying he functions at board meetings much like a city manager or county executive for Hidden Valley, a community of 7,200 residents: his job is counseling, not ordering, he said.

“People like this – for whatever political or personal reasons – are stirring this pot of disinformation and making it look like the people who are trying to do this (build replacement buildings) are in some way evil or have some special agenda,” he says. “I come back and say to you, ‘What would that be?’

“What am I doing this for? It’s not going to be named the Rick Archbold Memorial Country Club.”

For a discussion of several sub-issues involved in the situation at HVL, see the related story, “Several secondary issues add to HVL strife.”

E-mail John Lindblom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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