We feel that a common sense, incremental approach to updating our Governing Documents addresses much-needed key updates and has a high likelihood of adoption;

They are

  1. >Easy to understand. We can list one item at time, here’s the old, here’s the new, and here’s why we need this change.
  2. >Inexpensive.  Legal counsel will likely be engaged even for adding simple language, but by our estimate community expense is in the few thousands, not tens-of-thousands.
  3. >Reasonable. We take a handful of items with solid reasoning and present them to the community.
  4. >Low Risk-High Reward. Let’s just say five changes are on the ballot. If 4 are voted in and 1 is not, then we’ve got 4 new changes. That’s a 100% improvement on our many full-re-write failures over the last several years, money well-spent and in balance, we have a better community.
  5. >Easy to Debate. We can conduct an open dialog on each item and let each stand on its own merits.


  1. >Update our Fines structure. $50 is not a deterrent in this day and age for egregious abuse. What has worked very well is the fact that the fee structure is embedded in the CC&Rs. In our opinion, a new solution should remain in our CC&Rs to prevent future Board abuse. We will propose to maintain $50, or even lower it, just enough to cover administrative expenses for typical first-offense violators. We will propose an escalating fine table that will sufficiently encourage chronic violators to adhere to the community rules that we all comply with.
  2. >Remove cumulative voting. This is where you can stack up to all 5 of your votes onto one candidate during Board of Directors Elections. The intent of cumulative voting is to offset developer influence in young subdivisions, giving outnumbered homeowners in burgeoning developments a seat at the table in a developing community's Boardroom. We are approaching a 50-year-old community. This has long not applied.
  3. >Selling your vote and eliminate proxies. Our Governing Documents allow for a voting proxy and are silent on whether you can pay someone for their vote. It would unlikely apply to Board of Directors Elections, but since it does apply for all secret ballots including amendment proposals and land use changes, it needs to be eliminated.
  4. >Update outdated references. Developers and their companies are long gone, completely out of the picture. Changing these references are straightforward, simple, and needed. We need to clarify property ownership. We are a community of separate interests and our documents should reflect as much.
  5. >Include language that will permit reasonable, like-for-like maintenance and repairs on your home, eliminating full Architectural Submissions for these nominal actions. The objective is to provide an easier pathway for homeowner improvements.  If this can be done, We will champion it. Everyone wins.


The State of California emphasizes Governing Documents should easy to understand. Proposals should include:

  • Here’s the old
  • Here’s the new
  • Here’s why we need this change.

Keep it simple.

We have studied this approach for our community for over four years now. Adopting a full-rewrite simply appears to be an impossible challenge.

Here are some talking points:

  1. It’s all or nothing. You can forget about those key updates embedded in a full re-write. We are back to square one for everything if it fails.
  2. Do new CC&Rs really add value?  Practically speaking, We do not see this holding significant standing for the Coto community.  Ask a Realtor, when is the last time you or anyone you know purchased a home based on CC&R’s?
  3. California already updates CC&R statutes that we comply with. These constantly updated statutes always supersede Community documents. New CC&R’s are like a new car on day one, and we all know what happens with used cars (no offense to the Automotive industry).
  4. Community CC&Rs should focus on specific community aspects that we can control. Leave the heavy lifting of maintaining statutes to our County and State governments.
  5. Many of you may not know that, while our CC&R update needs 50%+1 of the membership (215 members) to adopt, our Bylaws require 75%, or 322 members to adopt. With 75% being a bar so high, the courts would likely allow us to fudge a bit, but it is very high bar none-the-less. Remember, a full re-write includes updating the CC&Rs AND Bylaws.
  6. Finally, this is by far the most expensive approach. For the last 7 or 8 years, several heartfelt attempts to update our Governing Documents, with mounting legal fees in tow, have failed.

To summarize, we believe this approach, in its most perfect presentation, remains a Bridge Too Far.   We would love to hear from you.


We currently have an Encroachment policy allowing controlled encroachment onto the perimeter of your property.  Do you agree with this policy? Would you like it modified? What are your opinions? Russ and Jim want to know.