Kenwood Press

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Letters to the Editor: 04/01/2012

Letters to the Editor

Facts about The Meadows Kennel

Dear Editors,

I would like to clarify the facts and right the misstatements that are being made about The Meadows Kennel. First off, there is not and never will be 50 dogs out in the meadows at any one time.

The manner in which I will and am running the kennel day care is one person to every 10 dogs at all times. Because the dogs are closely supervised, there is never nonstop barking on this property. As per the guidelines of the PRMD, the kennel is limited to only 20 total dogs out at any one time and they must be in different exercise areas. Kennel dogs being boarded must be in the sound-proof kennel from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The current sound study has proved that if there is any noise coming from my property, it is below the county guidelines for noise. The current traffic study has proved that worst-case peak hour visits are 10 cars in the morning and 10 cars in the afternoon. Not 50 or 100, as has been described. The traffic conditions are what The Meadows Kennel has been allowed and practicing for over one year.

The proposed operation hours of the kennel are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The employees would arrive throughout the day, not all at once at 7 a.m. I do advise anyone coming to or leaving my property to only make a right-hand turn. I am the first driveway off the highway, not the fourth property, which is a breeding kennel 24/7 with no boarding license. Being the first property off the highway, my neighbors do not get traffic passing by their property to enter mine.

The proposed new kennel building is located next to existing buildings and will not be an eyesore to anyone. The new building does not obstruct anyone’s view in any way. The new building will be completely soundproof. I am being mindful of my neighbors’ concerns and am taking their comments to heart. I am, however, angered by the amount of false complaints of noise coming from my property and that people think it is OK to lie about that to make their point.

After hearing the strong views of my neighbors and their concern about traffic, The Meadows Kennel will be revising its request from 50 dogs to 35 (5 will be for emergency pick ups) with the same limitations and restrictions as before. I am also going to change my weekend hours from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. to 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday. I am sure that we can find a common ground.

I am sorry so many of you did not get the facts before signing petitions and stuffing mailboxes. I am right here, not so hard to find and talk with. Please do not turn on your neighbors who are in need of a safe, clean, and responsible place for their dogs.

Heidi Niemann
Santa Rosa

Anti dog kennel

Dear Editors,

Who wants to live next to a dog kennel for 50 dogs with 37 dog runs?

We were flabbergasted to discover at the March 15th permit hearing for the Meadows Dog Kennel that several of our Oakmont neighbors are supporting the expansion of this Kennel from 10 to 50 dogs with 37 dog runs, plus dog training and grooming, with additional buildings added on three acres in a mostly residential neighborhood, because the kennel is “nearby and convenient for them and their dogs and will offer great doggie care!”

Never mind the effect this kennel will have on the quality of life of this mostly residential neighborhood on a private lane and on the residents across the Highway in Oakmont (more than 100 Oakmont residents recently signed a petition objecting to the kennel.) Of course, the supporters of this kennel don’t live near the proposed expansion. How would they feel about a kennel next to their property? In addition, the owner of the kennel has assured everybody that her dogs will not bark. Is there a new breed of dog out there that does not bark?

The residents next to the kennel will be the most affected by this kennel expansion. Some of them have lived there for more than 30 years in peace and quiet. They suggested at the permit hearing that since some residents in Oakmont favor this kennel expansion, perhaps they should consider having it in their neighborhood. It would then be even more “convenient” for them. We would like to point out that we are not anti-dogs; however, we do object to this kennel expansion!

Elisabeth and James Keating

Thank you, Kenwood Cares

Dear Editors,

Just a quick note of thanks to our wonderful community and praise for Kenwood Cares. My family found ourselves in a need of a little extra financial help due to an emergency surgery that took my husband out of work. Anyhow, we are like many families that live paycheck to paycheck and both our incomes are important so we were very stressed. Darryl and Susan of Kenwood Cares were so kind and understanding.

Personally, it is very hard for me to look for help and they made me feel very at ease. I hope that I can return the favor by donating to Kenwood Cares in the future and I hope other Kenwood residents will consider it as well. You never know when you might be put in a similar situation. Enormous thanks to everyone that contributes and especially to Darryl and Susan Bellach.

Thank you,
Kenwood Resident
(Name withheld on request)

OVA business should stay local

Dear Editors,

Oakmont has been a steadily growing element in the Valley of the Moon for the past 50 years. Our 4,500 residents are a significant part of the economy and lifestyle of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Has OVA forgotten these roots?

First, they hired a manager whose home is 60 miles away in Pleasant Hill. Then, they engaged an architectural firm in Moraga for a recreation facility remodel and expansion. Hard to believe none of the talented Santa Rosa architects are up to the task.

On top of this, the Board decided that local accounting firms could no longer meet our needs. They hired Concord-based, CFM, to do the same work. Did this information technology driven decision include analysis of CFM’s sharply higher prices for their “extra” services? Also, did residents have to sacrifice the enjoyable, local and personal accounting interface in order for OVA to benefit?

Then we learned CFM does their banking of Home Owner Association dues out of state. Now our monthly dues and OVA daily banking has gone to Phoenix, Arizona, along with some of our investment funds.

Most recently the Board voted to refinance our $2.2 million dollar Central Facilities Improvement Loan with an out-of-state bank without an analysis and recommendation by the Finance Committee. In doing so, the Board rejected proposals by Santa Rosa banking officers that would be slightly more beneficial to the pocket books of 3,500 individual Oakmont residents.

Hopefully the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) will have a clear local focus when it comes to spending the recently approved $2,770,000 in City Waste Water Treatment Plant Settlement Funds. Oakmont residents, City staff and Council members will be watching to see if the OGC management company hires local workers and pays local equipment and materials suppliers to carry out golf course improvements.

John Taylor

Oakmont Governance: A plea for transparency

Dear Editors,

Oakmont is a community with an enviable record of resident participation and volunteerism. A plethora of resident committees and the Oakmont Village Association Board of Directors work to insure that the community operates with integrity, economy and in service to its residents. Generally the model of volunteer-based, elected Board of Directors has had a successful history. However, the Board of Directors has recently made major decisions which have been called into question by Oakmont residents. Worse, when asked for documents or evidence on which the decisions were based, they have refused to provide them.

One decision in particular has been the subject of much unrest and criticism. I refer to the decision to terminate the contract of OAS, an Oakmont-based firm that provided management software services for many years without complaint or problems. The Board removed this large contract from OAS and granted it to a competitor from Contra Costa County called CFM. There may, of course, be valid reasons for the change. In fact, this would be the operating assumption. However, the decision to change contractors (from OAS to CFM) was made on the basis of what appears to be a questionable process. To begin with, OAS was not informed of any needed changes, nor were they given an opportunity to bid on the new software package and services apparently desired by the Board of Directors. I say “ apparently desired” advisedly since the Board has refused residents’ request to inspect the Request for Proposals, or bid, that resulted in the change of contractors. This refusal to share what should be a document available to Oakmont residents has led to suspicion that the new provider, CFM, did not win the sizable contract in response to a fair process, but rather was selected on the basis of some questionable procedure or factors. This suspicion has been heightened by the Board’s continuing refusal to allow residents to inspect the Request for Proposal that assumedly led to a change in our contractor. If there is nothing to hide, why hide it?

Another major change the Board has made without transparency to its community is the addition of an “Assistant Manager.” This is a new job title that was never before used in Oakmont. The addition of an Assistant Manager would substantially alter the management hierarchy of Oakmont and add a new layer of management between the Manager and the membership. Again, the Board has been obtuse in its explanation for this change in the management model of Oakmont.

The tradition of the Board has been one of transparency and accountability in the spirit of service to the Oakmont membership. Recent actions of the Board have been at odds with this democratic tradition. In the interest of a trusting, transparent relationship with the Oakmont community, the Board would be well-advised to be less imperious and more open to resident input.

Tom Cooke

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