Las Vegas HOA says tree, grass removal in compliance with state law

The Sun City Anthem HOA has clarified the fees of the proposed grass removal.
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 6:49 PM PDT
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Editor’s note (July 13): A homeowner reached out to FOX5 over what he feared would be large fees levied by his HOA for grass and tree removal.

Since our original story, the Sun City Anthem HOA asked us to clarify the costs and the timing of what they say is compliance with state law.

The spokesman for Sun City Anthem HOA says the reasoning for removing the grass and trees in common areas is to comply with Assembly Bill 356 signed by the governor last year.

That bill states: “the waters of the Colorado River that are distributed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority… may not be used to irrigate nonfunctional turf on any property that is not zoned exclusively for a single-family residence.” The law requires compliance by early 2027.

As we first reported, homeowners were upset after they say they got a handout from an earlier HOA meeting, which raised their concerns about the estimated costs per homeowner for the removal of grass and trees.

Sun City Anthem communications director Doug Bradford told FOX5:

Homeowners were not only concerned about the potential assessments, they were also concerned what would happen if they could not pay their assessments in the time required by the HOA. In response, Sun City Anthem HOA said there are still too many unknowns, that is yet to be determined.

This story is evolving and we will continue to follow this story and bring updates.

ORIGINAL STORY: LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Some homeowners are having to put forward money to help support the Sun City Anthem HOA in a major change of removing trees and grass throughout the community.

The HOA’s goal is to conserve water. Homeowners said they don’t understand why they are being asked to pay so much in such a short amount of time.

“The economy is not at its best right now, prices are up on everything, inflation is up, recession is around the corner, interest rates are up and then we get blindsided with a $12,000 bill,” said homeowner Spencer Haneline.

Haneline purchased his villa at Sun City Anthem last December. He was recently told the HOA is going to make some drastic changes to his community.

“All the lawn, all the trees, everything you see around here has to be completely removed,” said Haneline.

The HOA’s reasoning for removing the trees and grass is to follow Nevada Assembly Bill 356 that was signed by Governor Steve Sisolak last year, that states “the waters of the Colorado river distributed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority or one of the member agencies of the southern Nevada water authority may not be used to irrigate nonfunctional turf on any property that is not zoned exclusively for a single-family residence.”

This will go into effect by 2027.

“The association has decided that it needs to be taken care of now,” said Haneline.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority websites states, “single family residential properties will be paid three dollars per square foot for the first 10,000 square feet of grass removed. "

But this won’t be the case for homeowners at Sun City Anthem

“They call it common ground, but we have to pay to have it done,” said homeowner Jack Donhaue. “We can’t get the refund from the state because it is common, and it is going to go into the general fund.”

“The villas may lose out on those rebates as this project goes on because some of the issues we feel, and I have talked to some of the city people is that now that it is law, rebates might be an issue,” said facilities manager and landscape supervisor Larry Fossan.

If homeowners don’t pay the $11,000 fee, they could be in jeopardy of losing their home.

“Your account will become delinquent, it will go to collections and then they will start foreclosure proceedings and they will foreclose in 90 days,” said Haneline.

Homeowners said they don’t understand why they have to pay so much and in just 60 days if this doesn’t have to be done until 2027.

“The issue is the way the committee has gone about turning this whole thing around and turning it into a large expense for those on fixed incomes,” said Haneline.

Sun City Anthem told FOX 5 the HOA board is made up of volunteers who are not as well-versed on this topic as staff and therefore, the communications director for Sun City Anthem sent this statement on behalf of the HOA.

“Costs continue to increase, there are supply chain issues, and finding contractors to do the work while there are competing projects in the valley, concern the HOA greatly. The final cost may be more, it may be less…we just don’t know.”

Some want to know where the money is going to go.

“They are collecting so far in advance so where is the money going to go and give me proof it is going there,” said homeowner Duffy Donhaue.

“That money would be dedicated to that particular project and that project only,” said Fossan.

The possible $11,000 fee only applies to 162 homeowners in the villa duplexes.

There are over 7,000 homeowners in the community altogether.

The board has not decided on a date of when those 162 homeowners will need to pay the estimated $11,000 but when they do decide, homeowners will only have 60 days to pay it.

The next Sun City Anthem HOA board meeting is set for July 14.