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  • 1. Will the Lodge Committee produce a final report? Can I see it?
    Yes. Copies will be distributed to residents as soon as possible after presentation to the WCA Board of Directors.
  • 2. Why did the committee report take so long?
    The combined process of obtaining Zoning approval and then working through the first phases of Architectural design work with the Architect was more complex and time consuming than anticipated. Development of a design in enough detail to inform a reasonably accurate construction cost estimate for the financial pro forma was equally so. Though the committee members brought relevant and real-world experience to this task, there was a learning curve to evaluate the condition of the existing building, to become conversant in the codes, regulations and limitations imposed upon the options.Some necessary tasks took longer than imagined. For example, approval of the Conditional Use Permit took 8 months. Development of the design drawings required consultation with County Building officials and over several months.
  • 3. What is the "Lodge"?
    The Lodge is an asset of the Woods Cooperative Association, Inc. Originally, The Lodge was built as an assisted living facility comprised of 24 single occupancy units with professionally trained on-site staff serving the needs of the residents. For decades this facility was managed by Sequoia Living Property Management Company. In 2014, The Lodge was closed because it was losing money rather than generating income. In Dec. 2021, when WCA residents became the owners of The Woods, The Lodge building was part of the property acquisition. As part of the loan agreement with our R.O.C. USA lenders, WCA, agreed to convert The Lodge into revenue-producing residential housing.
  • 4. What is the Lodge Conversion Project?
    The conversion of the lodge is mandated by the agreement WCA made with our lender (ROC USA) to convert the building into residential housing. The Lodge Ad Hoc Committee is tasked to determine the statutory, fiscal, time, community and operational parameters that determine workable options for re-use of the Lodge.
  • 5. What is the Lodge Ad Hoc Committee?
    The WCA Lodge Ad Hoc Committee has been established by the WCA Board of Directors and tasked to establish a clear action plan for reuse, design, marketing and management of the Lodge as rental housing, as described in the Mendocino County Use Permit application as follows: Modification to a Minor Use permit to convert an existing 24-bed Assisted Living Facility to Affordable Housing Units for Low-to Moderate- income Seniors, creating a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 24 efficiency long-term rental units ranging in size from approximately 240 to 550 sq.ft., per Mendocino County Code Section 20.204.035(B). The committee is comprised of seven WCA residents of varying backgrounds and one non voting member from CCCD and one non voting member from Evans Management.
  • 6. When was the Lodge Ad Hoc Committee started and when will it conclude its work?
    The WCA Lodge Ad Hoc Committee was started in 2021, concluded its work in Oct 2021 when the WCA became owners of The Woods. The Committee was re-established in Nov. 2022. The re-established Lodge Ad Hoc Committee was tasked by the WCA Board of Directors in order to affirm that The Lodge Conversion Action Plan complies to the maximum extent possible with the schedule requirements of the ROC-USA mortgages. The Lodge Ad Hoc Committee concludes its work with its Community Presentation and Report to the Board of Directors April 2024.
  • 7. Who are the members of the Lodge Re-Use Ad Hoc Committee?
    At this time, LODGE REUSE AD HOC COMMITTEE December 8, 2022 COMMITTEE NAME: The Lodge Reuse Ad Hoc Committee CHAIR: Jo Bradley BOARD LIAISON (voting): Jim Kachik, Board President MEMBERS: Vince Flood Esther Faber Bobbi Riley CONSULTANTS: (not voting) Megan Krekorian, (CCCD) Until Jan 2024 Kim Koontz (CCCD) Kim Ringer (Evans Management) Carolyn Lucento
  • 8. What is the priority of the Lodge Committee?
    The priorities for the Lodge are to convert the current rooms to rental housing and to generate income from that housing.
  • 9. What can I do as a WCA member to help with the Lodge Conversion?
    We did find out that our Insurance covers Volunteers. So if you are interested and you want to help, please contact the WCA Board of Directors.
  • 10. Can the Woods infrastructure support the Lodge? (ex: traffic, parking, sewer, etc.)?
    Yes. At one time, the Lodge housed 24 people, support staff, medical staff and a beauty shop. As rental housing, there will be fewer people putting less of a load on our sewer, water and utilities, and it should be quieter. Driveways and parking requirements will be directed by Mendocino County. Having a bus stopping here will help alleviate some demand. Since the building will be used for rental housing and not as a medical facility, there will be less ambulance traffic. The organization that WCA contracts with, reports that our septic system and our water system are ample and can more than support the Lodge.
  • 11. Do we have the proper Permits for the Lodge Conversion?
    On April 6, 2023, we attended the Planning Commission hearing in Ukiah. The Mendocino County Planning Commission approved our Conditional Use Permit (CUP), for converting the Lodge from Assisted Living to Residential. This allows us to have 12 to 24 residential units in the Lodge building, and allows us to go forward. More building permits will follow.
  • 12. Can members have a tour of the Lodge?
    At this time we are not giving tours of the Lodge. Watch this video to see The Lodge at The Woods in Littlle River:
  • 13. Will we make the deadlines to ROC USA regarding the Lodge Conversion for our loan?
    We, as a Committee, believe we will be able to meet the deadlines of our loan.
  • 14. Will an apartment be available for residents of the Woods when a member is ready to down-size?
    If there is an apartment available, when you are ready to downsize, you are welcome to apply for it.
  • 15. Will the Lodge have Section 8 Housing?
    The California Section 8 Housing Program is complicated and has multiple parts. When the project is complete the resulting apartments will be Section 8 compliant, for Seniors who have Section 8 Vouchers. However the Lodge apartments will not be a Section 8 Housing Development.
  • 16. Can we lease out the building to one entity?
    Yes, that could happen. We could have a tenant with a Master Lease but it would need to be approved by ROC. We know the lease has to be housing. To date, no responses have been received from potential third party master lease tenants who were contacted by the committee since 2021.
  • 17. Will we be able to use the commercial kitchen located in the Lodge?
    There has been a lot of interest in the kitchen. It needs extensive work to be brought up to code as a commercial kitchen. The current Lodge conversion project includes only the areas (24 rooms) that may be converted to apartments. It does not include the commercial kitchen as of April 2024.
  • 18. Who will be doing the construction work on the Lodge?
    We have determined that any construction must be done by a state licensed and insured contractor. At this writing, Adhoc Lodge Committee 2023/24 has engaged a local licensed architect.
  • 19. Why can't we sell the Lodge?
    The building itself is on the same parcel as the rest of the community and cannot be subdivided. It is connected to the infrastructure of all the Woods' utilities.
  • 20. Why can't we tear the Lodge building down and replace it with manufactured homes?
    There are 2 major reasons: 1) The Lodge is listed as an asset by our lender, and they require that it be developed as residential housing. 2) If three houses could fit in the space, they would not bring in the same revenue as a dozen rental apartments.
  • 21. Why is it okay to rent apartments in the new lodge conversion but not okay to rent our houses?
    There are a number of reasons: To start, both Loan Agreements with ROC state that we must use the Lodge, which is an asset, to produce income for our Co-op. We are a Co-op, so the rent we make from the Lodge will benefit us all. The intent is to prevent lot charges from going up as well as helping to pay our mortgage. An individual renting out their own home is prohibited by our operating Rules and By-laws, Article 4.1A. Our homes must be owner-occupied. We are a Resident-Owned Community; (ROC) owned by a cooperative of homeowners (us), who live here, as opposed to a landlord.
  • 22. What if I have more questions about the Lodge Project?
    Current protocol is: If you have questions for the Committee please send them to Jo: rvt@mcn.org. She will not answer you. They will be answered in the Committee report following the date your question was submitted . That way all of the Community gets the same information.
  • 23. Why did the second committee (2023/24) not replace the members who resigned?
    The first member resigned about 6 months into the project. The second member left only after the bulk of the work had been completed and continues to assist the committee with communications. The remaining committee members where able to complete the work.
  • 24. What about SRO (single room occupancy)?
    Single-room apartments (studios) were reviewed. Information is in the committee report (April 2024). Single room occupancy of the Assisted Living type is not cost-effective from a business perspective.
  • 25. Can we count on the cost estimate?
    Yes. The numbers stated by the Committee are based upon a comprehensive report from a professional cost consultant who is part of the Architect's team. These are not guesstimates or back of the envelope calculations. These numbers are used to determine what construction cost should be to have the project pay for itself. When the design and business cost estimate is complete, the Board will bring that to the community for approval.
  • 26. When will construction start, when will it open?
    Unknown at this time, duration once begun could be at least a year.
  • 27. What will the rents be?
    Preliminary evaluation suggests that rents in the range of $2000/ month (including utilities) are competitive with others in our coast region. These apartments will be among the best quality listings. They are new to the market. Possible description: "Newly remodeled apartments in an historic Mendocino community with pool, laundry, equipped exercise room, clubhouse, library, pool table, and regular cultural events." We anticipate the WCA could use a Real Estate Company if marketing is needed.
  • 28. Were the Committee meetings held in secret?
    No. The Chair reported its activity at every BOD meeting, and published articles and other information in both the WFTW and The Woods website.
  • 29. What about grants?
    Any applicable grant without prohibitive conditions could be considered for funding. Public money could require more changes to the building, which could cost more and limit us in what we can charge for rent.
  • 30. Why not sell or lease it to someone else?
    Neither cost nor time-effective. Selling the building would require subdividing our "Woods" parcel so that the Lodge building is its own "parcel." Doing so would require returning to the County for zoning permission/revision. The proposed use would need to be compatible with the Woods' existing restrictions of 55+ seniors, etc. Negotiations would be required to allocate the utility connections, IF zoning permits. Further to the point, there does not seem to be a commercial use for the building that would attract a buyer (other than rental housing.)
  • 31. What about the kitchen?
    The Health Department inspected the kitchen and gave us a laundry list of things that needed to be brought up to code before it can be relicensed for commercial use under the WCA. All appliances have deteriorated somewhat and need to be serviced to pass inspection. The kitchen and other central rooms could be utilized to enhance profit from the building, but not at this time (April 2024) That would be in a second phase.
  • 32. Will tenants be allowed to use the public facilities at The Woods?
    The Committee feels that they should be. It would add little or no cost to the community, allow us to seek a higher rental price, expand our cultural uniqueness, and give us a chance to make new friends.
  • 33. What about pets?
    To be determined. Pets generally pose management/maintenance challenges.
  • 34. Is there enough parking?
    Yes, as required by codes, there is parking for the 12-apartment concept (one-bedroom apartments) However, more spaces than are available would be required for studio apartments.
  • 35. Will it add to my carrying charges?
    No.
  • 36. Who will manage the apartments?
    There are options. It also depends on the number of units.
  • 37. How much will it cost?
    See the cost estimate provided by the Architect's cost consultant. There are different numbers for the options considered. This is contained in the Committee Report which each resident will receive after it is presented to the BOD in April 2024.
  • 38. Who will maintain the building?
    The WCA, including maintenance department and management.
  • 39. What about solar power?
    The Committee has investigated the cost of installing a solar power system. It is not required as part of this proposal and is currently not cost effective due to recent utility company rate changes. We feel it could be implemented as part of Phase 2 if the rate structure changes.
  • 40. Will there be apartments for differently abled people?
    Yes. With 12 apartments, we must have one ADA compliant unit and the rest need to be "adaptive."
  • 41. Who will be living there?
    "People just like us." They will meet all the same age and income-related requirements and rules that everyone else here is subject to.
  • 42. Will we vote on turning it into apartments?
    Community agreement to convert the Lodge to "rental housing" is already contained in the loan agreement between WCA and ROC. A member vote would be required for the needed financing.
  • 43. Will the apartments add to the value of The Woods?
    Yes, The Woods is already worth more than what we paid and its value continues to increase. Income property is a plus for a cooperative.
  • 44. Why not reopen the care facility?
    It is reported that the previous owners closed the facility because as an assisted living facility it was too small to be profitable.
  • 45. What about all the noise and disruption during construction?
    It will be managed, but there will be some noise. 95% of the work will be on the interior which will reduce the impact of any noise. No heavy machinery will be required. Any work will be conducted during regular work hours.
  • 46. Who will be doing the construction?
    To be determined. The WCA will solicit bids from licensed contractors and choose one or more according to cost and reputation. As the project is neither complicated nor large, the Committee hopes that we will hire locally and choose a local business that has an owner/working builder.
  • 47. Can I see the plans?
    Yes. They will be displayed at the Committee Presentation and available for all to review in the Committee Report which will be distributed to each resident in The Woods. Preliminary plans were displayed at our "Mock Up Event" fall 2023.
  • 48. What about all the furniture and other stuff in the building?
    The Board has approved a committee proposal to empty the building of remaining furniture, and odds & ends. Prior to the start of construction, the 24 rooms will be emptied. Some items will be moved for use in other parts of The Woods. Some items will be offered for sale to Woods residents. Some items will be donated to charitable causes. The remaining items will be properly recycled or sent to the dump.
  • 49. Where will we get the money to pay for the remodel?
    The funding will be borrowed in the form of a loan. The By-Laws require that we obtain multiple bids. ROC USA has expressed interest. The BOD will seek additional lenders.
  • 50. Why did we change the name?
    The "Lodge" name implies that it is an Inn or Hotel, that accommodates guests on a short-term basis. This would also cause confusion in the marketing and advertising campaign if it is still thought of locally as a care facility.
  • 51. ROC authorized an advance of $150,000. from our Capital Reserves to fund concept development of the Lodge Conversion. How much has been spent and on what?
    Total expenses to date (April 2024) are approximately $23K for the Architect, her cost estimator/consultant, and miscellaneous fees to County Agencies for the Conditional Use Permit. All contracts were Board-authorized. All expenditures are authorized through the ongoing WCA fiscal controls.
  • 52. What happens next?
    The Committee will be presenting its final report to the BOD in an open session and then answer any questions. Following that, the BOD will vote to receive or reject the report. It will then be up to the BOD to determine next steps to complete permit documents, obtain bid, etc.
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