Category: General

Overseeding Plans for Winter 2021

At the August Board meeting we reviewed the proposal from Stillwater, our landscape vendor, to do the winter overseeding of the community’s turf areas.

If you’re not aware, here’s some background. There is a perennial (grows year after year) grass in our turf areas called Bermuda, which really thrives in the summer, but tends to go dormant in cooler temperatures. Specifically, if daytime temperatures go below 65°, Bermuda grass pretty much turns brown. Within the soil – under the surface – the roots of Bermuda are still alive, and need minimal irrigation. But it doesn’t look good – and historically we get a lot of complaints from residents about how the turf looks in the winter, if only the Bermuda is there.

Ryegrass to the Green Rescue!

But there’s an annual (has to be replanted every year) grass that thrives in the cooler Arizona temperatures, which is called Ryegrass. To plant the Ryegrass, the irrigation is stopped for about a week when the temperatures fall below the 60s. The Bermuda grass turns brown, and the Ryegrass is planted, often along with aerating the turf and application of a fertilizer. And watered… a lot! The water costs almost as much as the Ryegrass seeding costs, in most years.

But you and your neighbors have spoken loud and clear for years: you want green grass in the winter! So each year we budget for the extra cost. Normal budget is just under $10,000 for the Ryegrass application, and about that much for the additional water. I have to admit I like the green turf in the winter too, and the cost – while it seems high – is well worth the better community appearance… and your satisfaction.

The Price is Up…

But this year, the price of Ryegrass application is considerably more expensive, primarily due to increased prices of the seed itself, which have doubled, by most accounts. The reason for the seed price increase is beyond the scope of this post, but see this article from the US Golf Association (they know a thing or two about grass growing!).

Another consideration is that many landscape professionals recommend not overseeding every year, saying that every 3-5 years there Bermuda needs to be left “uninvaded by Ryegrass” to maintain the long term health of the Bermuda. The consensus view of the board has been that the desire of the residents for green grassy turf in the winter is more important than allowing our grass to go brown in hopes of improving the underlying Bermuda.

And the Answer Is…

All of this came into the discussion, and the board decided to proceed with overseeding most of the Rio Crossing turf areas — but to experimentally leave two smaller turf areas undisturbed:

  • What we semi-lovingly call the “Jumping Wall Park”, the turf area west of the Roma/124th intersection.
  • The turf inside the turn/intersection from Devonshire to 123rd – the northwest corner.

We plan to monitor the health and vitality of the turf in those two areas for a year or so afterward, and determine whether there is – or is not – a good reason to allow other turf areas within the community to “rest the Bermuda”.

We don’t really want the main park area to look like this any longer than necessary:

Roma Park being set up for a community event in April 2018 – after winter Ryegrass went dormant but before the Bermuda was brought back to life.

But if the long-term health of the turf can benefit from one “rest year” out of every 5, I hope we’ll consider a rotating “rest period” throughout the turf areas. Doing one major or several minor turf areas each year would at least give us some nice grass around the community every year. Prior boards have taken the “all or nothing” approach to the rest periods… resulting in the entire community turf being brown. Our landscape company has recommended this approach for us, and I think it’s a reasonable alternative to “all or nothing” without never giving the Bermuda a rest.

Avondale Transit Study

I was asked by Maricopa Association of Governments to invite anyone interested in the future of transit service in Avondale to consider attending a community meeting.

I attended one of these a few weeks ago, and I was impressed with the forward-thinking approaches to enhancing transit in the Avondale-Goodyear area.

Zoom Transit will Likely Be Affected

If you are a current rider of the Zoom service that circulates around Avondale and connects to other transit resources, you should definitely attend, as there will likely be changes in that area.

Sign Up!

MAG’s Transportation Planner Jennifer Valentine wrote:

Please feel free to invite friends, coworkers, employees, customers, members of your HOA, etc. who have an interest in the future of transit service in Avondale and Goodyear. We’d appreciate your help in spreading the word about the community meetings. Meeting information can be found on the project website, at azmag.gov/Avondale-Goodyear, and below:

March 4, 2021 from 5:00 to 6:30 PM
https://azmag-gov.zoom.us/j/97465886384?pwd=MHA5a3hWOXZra09ERXlMSXlhajBWZz09
Passcode: 575516

March 10, 2021 from 9:00 to 10:30 AM
https://azmag-gov.zoom.us/j/97171711790?pwd=U2oxenhRS0E5V1FZTEZrN1JiY2lTUT09
Passcode: 388134

Social Event, Online?

I know this whole COVID thing has been dragging on for a year or more now. For those of you that liked getting out in the neighborhood for a community event now and then — we miss having “movie in the park” night, and especially our Winter Festivals!

I’ve been wondering… are there online events that Rio Crossing residents would like? I know some of you (or your kids) play online games, some of you would love to have a little “chat with your neighbors” night (while others may hate Zoom — understandable!).

I’m not sure what we could do, or who would be interested. But if you have some ideas about ways this could work, I’d love to hear about them. Use the Feedback page to let me know.

Do You Podcast?

I’ve done a few short-run podcasts in my day, and they’re actually easier to put together than most things I do for Rio Crossing social-media wise.

I’ve set up a podcast for Rio Crossing, more or less on a trial basis to see if there’s really any interest. Check out the Podcast home here on Anchor.FM, and if you’re a big podcast listener, you’ll find links there to podcasts on a number of popular sources, including Apple and Google.

If you really like podcasts and have suggestions for topics, or would maybe consider chatting with me on a podcast — any topic you like (within reason!) — send me a note from the web site’s Feedback page.

Accident, or Vandalism?

For the second time in 6 months, there are fresh tire tracks and a broken sign in the Heatherbrae entrance. Part of me wants to believe that this was an accident, but the sign was replaced the next day, and was stolen within a couple of hours of being put there.

I won’t bore you with the technical definition of “criminal damage” from Arizona statutes, but if you see someone damaging common areas of the community, please contact Lisa with details.

If you have a beef with the association, there are more productive ways of dealing with it. If you just want to get rid of the association, there are ways of doing that too.

In November of 2019 (just before the last Winter Festival) there was more extensive damage done to the Roma Park turf caused by someone taking their vehicle on a joyride through the park in the wee hours of the morning. For that damage, the Avondale Police Department was involved.

Please respect your common area property.

Backwashing or Draining Your Pool?

The City of Avondale doesn’t permit draining of pool water into the streets.

This isn’t particularly an HOA issue, but we often try to get the word out to folks on things like this. We’ve noticed a number of people lately just rolling the hose out to the street and letting it flow. Here’s the flyer provided by the folks at the city:

Dissolve the HOA?

In late June, some unknown person put handmade signs at each of the Rio Crossing exits:

The intention of the poster’s author is unclear, but rather than keep you in suspense, Ray Harwood researched the association’s governing documents regarding the requirements to dissolve the HOA. He documented the results of his research in a YouTube video, available here and by clicking the video’s thumbnail image below.

Just to be clear, the board does not support the dissolution of the association, but we felt the members should know the process through which it could be accomplished.

Weeds Between Walls and Sidewalk

Our community manager recently learned that the association takes responsibility for weed control in the area between the walls along streets and the adjacent sidewalks. She was quite apologetic for having written a few weed notices for those areas recently… to owners on the adjacent lots.

Not to worry… those notices have been quashed, kaput, gone.

Want to know more about why the association takes care of them?

Hotly Debated at One Point

Historically, the board had always had the landscapers take care of this area (between the wall and sidewalk). I can’t remember the exact timing of when this happened, but at one point there was some notion to no longer do this (as a money-saving initiative, I think).  Homeowners caught wind of this potential change and (those that got involved – less than a dozen) spoke against it at a meeting. 

Governing Documents

Having studied the CC&Rs, I pointed out several items that — to me — made it very clear that these are the association’s responsibility.

The CC&Rs have two relevant definitions in Article 1:

1.12 “Common Area” means (a) Tract B, Tracts D through H, inclusive, Tracts J through N, inclusive, Tracts P-1 through P-9, inclusive, and Tracts Q-1 through Q-6, inclusive, Rio Crossing, according to the plat recorded in Book 676, Page 10, in the records of the County Recorder of Maricopa County, Arizona, together with all improvements situated thereon and (b) all land, together with all improvements situated thereon, which the Association at any time owns in fee or in which the Association has a leasehold interest for as long as the Association is the owner of the fee or leasehold interest, except that Common Area shall not include any Lot the Association acquires by the foreclosure of the Assessment Lien or any deed in lieu of foreclosure.

CC&Rs Section 1.12

1.2 “Areas of Association Responsibility” means (a) all Common Area; and (b) all land, and the Improvements situated thereon, located within the boundaries of a Lot or a public right-of-way which the Association is obligated to maintain, repair and replace pursuant to the terms of this Declaration, the Plat or other Recorded document executed by the Declarant or the Association.

CC&Rs Section 1.2

Farther down in the document in section 8, there’s this:

8.6 Maintenance of Walls other than Boundary Walls. Walls (other than boundary walls) located on a Lot shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot. Any wall which is placed on the boundary line between a Lot and an Area of Association Responsibility shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot, except that the Association shall be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the side of the wall which faces the Area of Association Responsibility. In the event any such wall encroaches upon the Common Area or a Lot, an easement for such encroachment shall exist in favor of the Association or the Owner of the Lot, as the case may be. Any wall which is placed on the boundary line between a Lot and public right-of-way shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot, except that the Association shall be responsible for the repair and replacement of the surface of the wall which faces the public right-of-way.

CC&Rs Section 8.6

More of My Opinion/Interpretation

So the Tracts where the green belts are located are pretty clearly included in what the association must maintain.  We know the city maintains the streets and the sidewalks (except the sidewalks which are clearly on Common Areas – that means Rio Crossing maintains the walkway from Highland to the Roma Park area, and the sidewalks around and to/from the playgrounds and picnic Ramada). 

So in my personal opinion (not a lawyer, and not representing a board policy here), this boils down to the following:

  • Everything on a Lot is the responsibility of the owner.  Walls are situated on the property lines, making them “common walls”; the owner is responsible for “their side of the wall”, and the association is responsible for the side of any wall that faces onto Common Areas or Areas of Association Responsibility.
  • Everything on Common Areas is the responsibility of the association.
  • The city maintains our streets and gutters, street lights, and any sidewalks not on Common Area.  (A close examination of the properly lines shows that the sidewalks in front of homes is not on the Lot, but on “city property”.)
  • Everything else in Rio Crossing that is not a Lot and is not a Common Area and not maintained by the city is then an Area of Association Responsibility.

This means — in my opinion — that the following items are the responsibility of the association to maintain:

  • Gravel areas between walls and sidewalks – and any weeds or other living things that grow there!
  • All mailbox units.  (These are located on what is technically Avondale city property/easements. I believe the post office maintains individual boxes, but the unit itself, from the ground up – excluding the individual compartments – is the association’s responsibility.  I think of it like a condo.)
  • All doggie stations and garbage cans, and their supports and concrete pads, etc.

So, one more time: “I’m not a lawyer” and “these are just my opinions”, but it’s backed by facts I’ve checked out pretty thoroughly.  And I thought some of you might appreciate the information.