OHHA Streets Report — Update February 2020

BACKGROUND  — MAY 2019 REPORT

For many years, the City and OHHA residents disagreed about the repair and maintenance of the OHHA streets.  Several attempts to resolve this issue have occurred most notably the City Plan of 1992 and the Negotiated Compromise of 2008.  Both attempts failed to win community support. The first, because the community felt the plan would compromise OHHA’s rural community feel and the second, because the residents believed the cost was excessive.

In late 2017, OHHA reopened discussions with the City regarding its streets.  A new approach was proposed by City staff to concentrate the improvements on the streets alone and to forgo storm drainage, curbing, and sidewalk enhancements, which were part of previous proposals.  This approach and methodology considerably reduced the overall cost. Costs were further reduced to the OHHA parcel owners by the City accepting responsibility for 50% of the construction. At an OHHA General Meeting held in February 2018, attended by approximately 75 OHHA residents, this new approach was unanimously accepted by those present.

As part of the path forward, it was understood that an assessment district would need to be formed to collect the parcel owner’s portion of the construction cost. Further it was clear that considerable engineering work, funded by the City, would need to be completed before the assessment district vote would be taken, which put the City at some risk.  To provide a level of confidence which would encourage the City to proceed, the OHHA Board agreed to poll the OHHA parcel owners to determine the communities level of support for the assessment district. This in turn, required a well-defined explication of the benefits of such a district so the parcel owners could clearly understand the specifics of the agreement as they considered their decision. The City staff and OHHA representatives met several times through the balance of 2018 to refine the benefit statement now termed the “ballot language for the assessment vote.”   The final product of these discussions is as follows:

THE QUESTION TO BE VOTED ON:

“Should the Old Highlands Homeowners Association (OHHA)* property owners make a legal commitment to pay an estimated $600 per year per land parcel for twenty years to the City of Hayward if the City of Hayward:

  • Rehabilitates the asphalt pavement on all roadways throughout OHHA, in a manner consistent with City of Hayward standards, excluding curbs, gutters and sidewalks; 
  • Allows OHHA Board to review the design and to set the order/priorities for the street paving;
  • Fronts funding for the road paving so all streets are completed within six years;
  • Takes full responsibility for all future maintenance and construction requirements related to the newly paved streets;
  • Establishes a payment commitment which limits OHHA’s portion of costs to no more than 50% of the total repaving costs or $600 per year for 20 years; whichever is less.
  • Allows the OHHA community to make their payments via a tax assessment, with interest applied to the funds fronted for construction. The interest will not exceed the rate that the City earns on its funds or pays when borrowing. (Total payment, including any interest, is estimated to be $600 per year per parcel for no more than 20 years); 
  • Cancels/removes all deferred improvement agreements (DIA) on all affected properties in the OHHA community;
  • Prepares and processes all paperwork needed to transfer any private street ownership to the City;
  • When possible, the City will not disturb existing water control features along the OHHA roadways installed by property owners to divert storm water away from their properties. If the City cannot preserve some features, then the existing features, which currently provide limited stormwater protection, will be replaced with comparable features to provide stormwater diversion similar to that provided by the original features.
  • Designs newly paved streets to follow previously agreed upon minimum widths of 24 feet on two-way streets and 20 feet on one-way streets except parts of a  two-way street may be narrowed to 20 feet width and parts of a one-way street may be narrowed to 18 feet width where narrowing the street appears to be the best choice after full consideration of other options and there has been mutual agreement between OHHA and the City regarding the specific reduction in width.
  • Performs all coordination with utilities providers should relocation of any utility’s services be required by the construction.

*For the purposes of this project/document, OHHA consists of the following streets:  Parkside, Hillcrest, Home, Tribune, Call, Chronicle, Cotati, Grandview, New Dobbel, and Campus View. 

PROCESS:   As the ballot language negotiating process proceeded, the community and OHHA Board was regularly informed as to its progress. When the ballot language formation was completed with the City, it was presented to the community for their review and comment at a public meeting and by notices. Concurrently, the OHHA Board began planning for the survey process including drafting the polling sheet.  The survey activity was kicked off at another OHHA General Meeting held in February 2019 at which the ballot language was discussed, and the polling process described. City staff were present to confirm their agreement with the proposal. Those present the meeting and ready to be polled provided their responses. Further polling activity continued until mid-May.

Based on the address data provided by the City, the OHHA Board delivered to each residence progress information and a polling sheet (Ballot). Parcel owners were requested to deposit their ballot in the OHHA Treasurers mailbox (our apologies to the postal service). Simultaneously, ballots were mailed to all known addresses of non-resident parcel owners along with a stamped return envelope. Once the responses were returned, a spreadsheet was developed to maintain the voting results and to provide polling staff with names, address, and other information regarding unpolled parcel owners. OHHA was then divided into five zones with a polling person assigned to each. These zones were swept a minimum of three times in order gain a maximum response to the polling question.  As to be expected, a 100% response rate was not achieved for several reasons; renters in residence, non-resident parcel owners without current address, language and communication barriers, unknown owners, reluctance to answer the door, and such. 

It is important to note that Civic, Rainbow Court and the recent construction at Tribune and Hayward Blvd were NOT polled. These streets are already improved and there is no need for the residents to participate in the program.

To ensure validity and transparency, each vote was recorded on an individual polling sheet and signed by the parcel owner.  (Some NO votes would not sign so they are reflected as “refused to sign”). The data below is a summary of the responses from each parcel owner polled.

 RESULTS:  

StreetNumber of parcelsYESNO
Call26125
Chronicle36176
Cotati930
Grandview371813
Hillcrest38246
Home16130
New Dobbel1363
Parkside1066119
Tribune38182
TOTAL 31917952

                  Total ballots received =  231

                    All those who refused to vote or sign the ballot were registered as NO

  • % YES of ballots received: 178 of 231 = 78%
  • % YES of ballots per total parcels:  178 of 322 = 55%
  • % ballots received: 231 of 319 = 72%

Regarding non-resident parcel owners (Included in above data):

  • There is a total of 56 non-resident parcels per the City’s spreadsheet.
  • Twice, OHHA mailed ballots and stamped return envelopes to the non-resident parcel owners at the addresses provided in the City’s spreadsheet.
  • OHHA received 30 signed non-resident parcel owner ballots back: 18 = YES and 12 = NO.

SUMMARY

The City accepted the positive results of this survey and worked with OHHA to develop and finish the program. 

CURRENT STATUS  — FEBUARY 2020

The timetable set forward for the project is as follows:

  • 12/3/19    Initial funding provided by City council 
  • Engineering review and design
  • By 3/30/20    Completion of cost estimate
    • Establish final design, scope, cost estimate
    • Formal vote in OHHA to establish assessment district
    • If vote passes final plans and specifications and City will bid the job
    • First streets selected by OHHA board (Tribune an Cotati)
    • Paving will be a part of Haywards annual pavement plan for spring 2021
  • 5-6 Years    Project completed; all streets repaved

THE MOST IMPORTANT NEXT STEP WILL BE COMMUNITY APPROVAL OF THE ASSESMENT DISTRICT. WITHOUT THIS APPROVAL THIS PROJECT CANNOT GO FORWARD.

The survey done last year convinced the City to move forward and they have invested considerable funds based on the results of the survey. But the formal and final vote is still to come once the estimates and design work is done. This will be a mail ballot sent to each parcel owner. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT EACH OWNER RESPOND.

About the author: Tori