The Mt. Lemmon Homeowners’ Association (“MLHOA”) today announced its Board’s unanimous support for the Simply Bits equipment located on the Mt. Lemmon Water District’s water storage tank on Upper Loma Linda. A controversy erupted recently when attorneys for the Loma Sabino Homeowners Association (“LSHOA”) sent a demand letter to the Water District and Simply Bits requiring immediate removal of internet equipment on the District’s water tank, or face a lawsuit.
Simply Bits recently upgraded its equipment on the water tank with the permission of the Water District. LSHOA owns the “common area” land upon which the Water District tank sits. The Water District operates its water tank through an easement granted the District by the LSHOA in the early 1990’s.
Michael Stanley, President of the MLHOA stated, “Connectivity is essential to our community. This upgrade permits the Water District to monitor its equipment in real time to provide water more securely to the community. It also provides necessary
internet access for residents and businesses on the mountain to the world at large at reasonable prices. For decades, the Water District has permitted use of its water tank for communications equipment, for example the Sheriff’s Department. The Loma Sabino Homeowners Association has permitted this use of the water tank. Now is no time to suddenly threaten a lawsuit without any prior notice or discussion whatsoever beforehand.”
Mr. Stanley for decades has also served as the manager of the Mt. Lemmon Water District. Michael Bernstein, an owner of Simply Bits, and his family have been summer residents for decades. Mr. Bernstein contributes as a Board Member at Large with the
The MLHOA urges the LSHOA to withdraw its demand letter, and to move forward promptly to negotiate an easement with Simply Bits to formalize the use of the water tank in a reasonable manner.
Removal of Simply Bits’ equipment will force Simply Bits to replace the equipment at great expense, and will thereby increase internet rates for the community. Further, the Water Company will need to install replacement equipment to monitor its water service.
The MLHOA was founded over fifty years ago on Mt. Lemmon to provide a voice for the community. It, among other things, publishes the “Echoes” newspaper, presently edited by postmaster Pamela Selby-Harmon.
“The MLHOA’s essential point is that our mountain community must work together cooperatively to protect our mutual interests,” Mr. Stanley added. “Tradition supports working together not as adversarial-like enemies. The legalities can be worked out
through talking, something that the LSHOA has never attempted but for its demand letter.”
Despite the controversy’s eruption in October, Charlie Bass, President of the LSHOA, has never picked up the phone to speak directly with Michael Stanley or Michael Bernstein to discuss it. The MLHOA Board believes Mr. Bass’s behavior on behalf of the LSHOA is reprehensible.
“The LSHOA’s unilateral demand made without any prior notice or discussion has violated our sense of community,” Mr. Stanley stated.
The MLHOA Board believes that prompt action by the LSHOA personally, not through its attorneys, to negotiate this important issue so that we can formalize an agreement is essential to fix this problem and to restore the sense of community that Mt. Lemmon’s
residents have always carefully maintained and preserved.