Mon, Sept. 16

Let me tell you a story ...
The value of a strong homeowners association

It's been 10 years now since Marie and I moved into our retirement home here in the village. This was our first encounter with a home owner's association (HOA). We moved into the Village of Oakcreek Association, euphemistically known as VOCA.

For just about my entire career I dodged living in big cities; preferring to live in quiet rural communities. Our last place was out in the country. Big trees, a fast clear running creek and even a historic pioneer cabin, maybe the oldest home in the county.

A developer had bought up farm property and subdivided it for high end homes. He assured us that the quality standard for homes built on this subdivision would be maintained in perpetuity.

And it was, at least for several years.

Then a friend of the developer bought a lot but couldn't afford the quality demanded of the developer's covenants. So, the first smaller and less-quality home was built. After that, everything seems to accelerate downhill. Manufactured homes and mobile homes came next. Across the street, a quad runner track materialized, with the developer's OK that inundated the surroundings with noise and dust. Sometime along the way the historic cabin was torn down and burned.

Property values plummeted. The only folks now who would buy into the development were the ones who would tow in a home on wheels!

When it came time to sell our home and move to the Village of Oak Creek it was difficult to find a buyer. We had two years in which to sell our home, but in the end we took a terrific financial loss. The only real protection the neighborhood had was a loose conglomeration of county ordinances. Nothing that was happening violated any of these ordinances.

Now some folks ask me: "What do I get for my association dues?" And I have to say: "Let me tell you a story..."

Protecting property values and the quality of village lifestyle may be the most important thing that VOCA does, but it's not everything. Not by a long shot.

We maintain a highly competent and highly motivated staff. Over the years, the board of directors has resisted the establishment of a bureaucracy. We've filled only those positions that directly interface with our membership and visiting public.

Because the quality and prestige of our organization has grown, these staff positions have been sought after and filled by highly qualified top notch professionals.

Sitting in on job interviews, I'm impressed how competitive our staff positions have become! Having such a professional staff at the service of our association members is a major benefit.

The Oakcreek Country Club golf course is the crown jewel in the village. Whether you are a golfer or not it forms the scenic backdrop for area homes. The course is a masterpiece of landscape architecture. It suggests the standard for architectural excellence to be emulated by surrounding homeowners. Association ownership of the Oakcreek Country Club adds value to all our properties.

Often, you can find folks walking along the cart paths before and after golf course operating hours. Golf course operations are self sustaining without any support from VOCA. Adding to this, VOCA maintains the medians on Verde Valley School Road and Bell Rock Boulevard.

The VOCA Kiwanis Park is a favorite gathering place for families. There's a playground and public restroom area where you can meet with friends and family. Adjacent to the park are the tennis facilities.

Enjoy a good book during these long, lazy summer days? The VOCA Community Center contains a great library of current paperback books. The Community Center houses the administrative staff of VOCA.

This office provides support and management of the needs of the association. The Community Center is the central location to express concerns and seek help in resolving these concerns. The staff there has assisted property owners with disputes among neighbors.

In addition, the VOCA Community Center is the place for community meetings, weddings, banquets, private parties and events. It is the home to recently renovated Redstone Grill and Patio.

The center has an active Bridge Club, Mahjong Group, watercolor painting classes, and woman's barbershop chorus (Red Rock Appella).

The center has free wireless internet access and is used as a precinct voting site. The VOCA Activities committee provides an ever growing opportunity of events including the 4th of July celebration, St. Valentine's dance, Labor Day and , Comedy Night, October Fest and Movie Nights. Most activities are supported by cuisine from our Redstone Grill and Patio.

Your VOCA maintains critical area wide representation in regional planning efforts and issues. VOCA provides membership and is very involved in the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council to make sure that decisions and recommendations affecting our property owners are in their best interest.

VOCA staff members and the Board of Directors maintain excellent working relationships with Yavapai County to make sure that the voices of VOCA are heard regarding zoning, county code violations and county wide issues that could affect our area. VOCA committees are active with the Big Park Domestic Waste water Improvement District, watching out for issues and providing valuable input regarding future septic and sewer concerns in aging neighborhoods.

Lastly, but surely not the least important, VOCA maintains a huge volunteer committee structure which over the years has provided a major social outlet and caused innumerable friendships to be made.

In addition to the board of directors and special interest ad-hoc committees, there are the Activities, Architectural Review and Restrictions, Finance, Greens, House and Grounds, Library, Policy, and Tennis Committees. There's something here for everyone. Come join in on the fun! Make the most of your VOCA membership!

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