Northern Meadows resident Barbara Spetalnik says the community should meet privately to discuss issues with the Northern Meadows Property Owners’ Association.
“I really think the neighbors need to get together and talk in private,” Spetalnik said, “and come to a consensus of what we are going to do about this board that is not complying with the court orders.”
Neighbors must think alike because another Northern Meadows resident, Ed Uhrich, is hosting a meeting at his residence to discuss the Northern Meadows POA.
“August 1, 7 p.m., I am going to have my own meeting back here,” Uhrich said. “We are going over everything, and if you don’t like something, bring it, and we will put it on the list.”
Uhrich has lived in Northern Meadows for 25 years and is unhappy with the state of the Northern Meadows neighborhood.
“Half the people don’t even pay their membership dues. Why would you pay your membership dues if your yard looks like hell?” Uhrich said. “Weeds don’t get pulled, grass looks like hell, guys are sitting in their trucks all the time.”
Uhrich had reached out to Northern Meadows POA president John Vigil, who sent him to the main HOAMCO offices in Arizona. HOAMCO is the main management company of Northern Meadows and many others.
Many Northern Meadows residents have many questions for their POA: What are dues being used for? Why are residents being charged an “arm-and-a leg” for yard maintenance? Why is no one taking responsibility?
“I’m retired and I’m pissed off. I’m going to come at you with everything I got,” Uhrich said.
According to Uhrich, the plan is to have a private meeting at his residence Aug. 1 and meet up again Aug. 8 in preparation for the Northern Meadows POA Zoom meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 17.
“We are going to blow these guys out of the water,” Uhrich said. “I am so goddam pissed at how my neighborhood looks.”
Spetalnik has lived in Northern Meadows for 24 years and claimed to start having issues with the Northern Meadows POA a couple years ago.
“I am pretty sure that the neighborhood is aware that they are not getting the services they expect — I am sure they are aware of that — but I don’t think they are aware of the court orders even though it was in the Observer,” Spetalnik said. “And where is the responsibility of the homeowners association to tell the neighbors this?”
Spetalnik started to notice that certain yard maintenance services that were routine had stopped, including pruning trees.
“I was told at that time that they don’t prune trees. What do you mean you don’t prune trees? You have been pruning this tree for the last 20-somewhat-years,’” Spetalnik said.
According to emails she provided, Spetalik was told that pruning her tree would cost out-of-pocket and is not part of the front yard maintenance.
Next, she asked for more gravel in her front yard and was told that she would have to pay out-of-pocket for that service as well.
“When I say to you that the gravel is gone after 24 years, what do you expect? They tell me they don’t do that,” Spetalnik said. “At that time I did not know there was a court order, and I was told that I have to do that myself.”
According to receipts, Spetalnik paid $746 to Green Summit Landscape Management for gravel topping in her front yard on Sept. 9, 2022, eight months after the court orders.
“The other issue I’ve been hearing from people is that they are short labor, they are short labor. Well, when I was ‘paying for it’ they were here … they weren’t short labor then. They came with four guys and were out in less than a half an hour,” Spetalnik said.
When Spetalik was made aware of the court orders, she reached out to Northern Meadows Vigil for reimbursement for the gravel topping.
“He got back to me and said that the board’s interpretation of the court order is that they don’t need to do any reimbursement,” Spetalnik said.
According to the emails, Vigil says “that the court has not ordered that the Association reimburse Owners for expenses they made for their yard.”
“Why is the homeowners association not telling the neighbors that they are under court orders?” Spetalnik said. “I would have understood, as a homeowner, if they said we are short of money and this may take some time to get to. But for them to turn around blatantly and say we don’t do that anymore … is disturbing.”
Uhrich echoes similar concerns as well. According to Uhrich, many of the residents are retired people on fixed incomes, and they are being asked to pay large sums for front yard maintenance.
“If they call and get a quote, it’s anywhere from $1,000-$4,000,” Uhrich said. “A guy in my neighborhood and I have cut down dead trees on multiple occasions to help out.”
Residents like Uhrich and Spetalnik are ready to take action and urge other residents to take action.
“These things are getting old. I’m tired of them; everyone’s tired of them,” Uhrich said.
Uhrich urges Northern Meadows residents to attend the Northern Meadows Zoom meeting.
“I just need you to log onto the meeting. Watch or listen to the meeting; that’s what we are going to need is people logging on and showing our strength in numbers,” Uhrich said.
If you would like to attend the private meeting at the Uhrich residence, it will be at 720 Santa Fe Meadows Drive. Those wanting to reach Uhrich can do so by emailing him at Uhrich’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written for the Neighborhood Journal by Rio Rancho Observer correspondent Daniel Zuniga