Good afternoon Mr. Hejna,
I’m a 43 year resident of the Rivermont Ranch subdivision and a member of a group of residents who own homes in Rivermont Ranch which are located in and immediately around the Phase I development. I’m writing to advise you of and several problems in our subdivision that are creating safety hazards, a loss on value in our homes and a negative impact on your ability to market and sell lots in the subdivision and to request your assistance and cooperation in correcting these problems.
First I would like to offer some information about the history of Rivermont Ranch to correct an ongoing misconception that your corporation seems to have as to the financial and management structure of the subdivision. Some time ago I was contacted by another member of our group, Mr. Keith Paszkiewicz. Mr. Paszkiewicz bought one of your new 5 acre lots located at 7676 Rivermont Trail and built a beautiful home. He was concerned about the condition of the lower sections of Rivermont Trail which is severely deteriorated and contacted you to inquire as to why it had not been repaired. He said you told him it was because the residents were not paying their dues.
Your response indicates you believe that there is some form of a mandated legal requirement that home and land owners in the existing subdivision must pay to maintain the roads which your company owns. That assumption is totally incorrect. There are no deed or title mandated subdivision dues, assessments, covenants or restrictions of any kind on any of the properties located in the original subdivisions of Rivermont Ranch. The Declaration of Restrictions and Benefits Affecting Rivermont Ranch filed by The Gravois Land Co. Inc. on June 16, 1937, which contained the requirement for landowners to pay road assessments and established a board of trustees expired on January 1, 1988 when the heirs of the corporation’s President, Mr. Theophil Pieper, refused to renew them. I was a legally elected member of the Gravois Land/ Rivermont Ranch Board of Trustees from 1975 until the expiration of the covenants and restrictions dissolved the board on January 1, 1988. I have a September 1987 letter from one of the heirs stating they would not re-new the restrictions and records of several meetings between the heirs, retired judge Charles Sheehan, a Rivermont resident and several other landowners and a legal opinion from Judge Sheehan that offers the same information; there are no restrictions, no assessments, no board of corporate trustee’s. Messrs.’ Thomas Flaherty and Gordon Gundaker bought the holdings of the heirs in late 2001 which included all of the existing roads. I had this discussion a number of times with your predecessor, Mr. Joseph Flaherty and sent him copies of the expired document and other records on several occasions. Please contact me if you cannot find these in your records. I will be happy to send you copies.
Shortly after the expiration I was appointed to the Jefferson county Planning Commission. I reviewed our situation with our Planning Director Don O”Donnally, County Counselor Benson Cytron, Recorder of Deeds, retired Judge Charles Sheehan and several other county officials in attempts to re-file or re-instate the expired restrictions but was advised it could not be done after the expiration date. Mr. O’Donnally and Mr. Cytron. Advised me that they had studied the matter and concluded that the restrictions had expired; the residents were under no legal obligation to fund road maintenance or to comply with any other aspect of the expired Rivermont Ranch restrictions. They cautioned me that any solicitation for funds should clearly be labeled a request for” voluntary contributions,” sending notices that were called mandatory or dues or assessments could be considered fraud by deceit.. They advised me to convey that to the former board members and if they refused, to distance myself from them or resign from the commission for the good of the county. They also advised me that any group or association that we formed should be registered with the Secretary of State Business Registration Division as required by Missouri law and we should obtain insurance if required and get formal approval from the road/land owners prior to performing any work.
After the expiration a number of groups and individuals who wanted to govern the subdivision were formed. They called themselves associations, appointed so-called trustees, made rules and sent demands for payments. I searched public records and went to the recorders office to examine our deed but found no records that any of these were ever registered with the Missouri Secretary of State and to the best of my knowledge none of their rules and regulations were signed by the landowners and/or attached to our deeds as were the original covenents and restrictions. I discussed this with the various groups several times but was never able to get copies of any signed agreements, liability insurance verification or other documents that any legitimate organization would normally retain. Many of us contributed to these groups on a voluntary basis, the roads were sporadically patched but there was never much accounting of the funds collected or how it was used.
In 2004 Mr. David Rutherford came into the mix. I met him in early 2005 at a meeting of residents concerned about your proposed 206 lot subdivision of Rivermont Bluffs that would use part of Rivermont’s roads as a second point of access/egress. I gave him copies of the expired restrictions and many of the older documents and records. I was pleased with his responses and his agreement to my suggestion that he tell the residents the truth about the assessments, set up a legal entity like Gravois Land to protect the landowners from personal liability and meet with Gunflahr to work out an agreement for road control and maintenance. He said he owned an accounting business and he knew all about registration laws for incorporation, partnerships, fictitious names, did them all the time and he knew the owners of Gunflahr. He would meet with them and get things done. In April he sent a letter to all residents acknowledging the fact that the maintenance funding was voluntary. In August he sent another letter from The Rivermont Ranch Land Owners Association C/O Rutherford Accounting Services describing a meeting between he had with the upper management of Gunflahr Land, Gordon Gundaker and Mike Hejna at which they had offered to pay half of an estimated $220,000 cost to repave the Rivermont Trail from beginning to end and pay all of the legal organizational costs to establish a legal landowners association and subdivision wide regulations. He estimated the cost of the paving at “$1500 per current resident”.
I met again with Mr. Rutherford shortly after receiving this letter. He asked me to start going door to door and getting residents to sign on to an agreement to each pay $1500. I asked him if he had a signed agreement with Gunflahr. He said he did not, he had to have the money first than he would work out the details with Gulflahr. I said you expect me to ask people who I’ve known for over 30 years to give you $1500 each and you have nothing in writing, are you serious? He said yes, don’t you trust me? I said, trust you, this is only the third time I’ve ever talked to you, I don’t even know you, either get a signed agreement or go out and ask for the money yourself and good luck to you. The next day I called Joseph Flaherty, Rivermont Project manager for Gunflahr Land and asked him about the alleged agreements. He called me the next day and told me his management said they had discussed things in general but had made no such offers or commitments. After that I went back to the Secretary of State’s website and researched The Rivermont Ranch Land Owners Association C/O Rutherford Accounting Services. I found no record of either. I made a few more inquiries and was convinced that neither the association nor his business was registered. We decided that we wanted nothing to do with a person who claimed to know all about these laws and didn’t comply with them for his own business and had nothing more to do with Mr. Rutherford.
A short time later Mr. Rutherford forgot about his “voluntary” statement and started sending periodic letters where-in he demanded payment of dues or assessments claiming to be the road fund manager, chairman of the landowners association and other titles he conferred upon himself. What followed was a long series of demands for payments, embarrassing rants to PAY WHAT YOU OWE, threats and attempts to get money from residents who really owed him nothing even to the extent of holding 2 or 3 meetings to try to get us to sign agreements authorizing him the right to borrow money in our names and guaranteeing payment of those loans. On June 8, 2011 he sent a letter stating the fund was out of money, pay or there will be no road repairs, he claimed he had paid for work out of his own pocket for which he would need to be reimbursed and he had “sent a separate letter to Mr. Gundaker, President of Gunflahr Development demanding $10,000 for past and current road dues…….we intend to file liens for the entire fees due on each vacant lot that remains in the new development. I will inform you of his response.”He attached a bill to each letter that stated “Any property owner with assessments more than 1 year in arrears subject to lien filing on September 30, 2011”
Time passed, we received no further information about Mr. Gundaker’s response, the roads continued to deteriorate, with each year the fund declined and Mr. Rutherford continued to send letters demanding money and claiming to be owed money by the fund until 2013 when the fund was down to nothing. For 3 years we heard nothing from him then in February 2016 we received a bill from Mr. Rutherford for 3 years assessments but when I looked at the envelope I noticed it was postmarked Pensacola, Fl. I contacted a number of my neighbors who advised me they too had received bills from Florida. It seemed odd that bills for assessments for Rivermont Ranch in House Springs Mo. would be sent from a faraway state with payment made to a post office box in House Springs so I looked up David M Rutherford in Missouri Case Net and found the lawsuit Gunflahr Land filed against David M. Rutherford Rivermont Ranch Subdivision, and John Doe unknown trustee.
I was shocked when I read the basis for the suit was assessments that Mr. Rutherford knew that he had absolutely no authority to demand which the judgment and amended order of the court verified. I was also quite surprised to find Mr. Rutherford was or had been the defendant in another 20 or more lawsuits and that his current address is listed as a suite in Destin Florida but as I looked through these records and re-read his numerous letters and attempts to get more money from us, his neighbors it has all of the earmarks of a scam from the start. I recollect that one of his demand letters claimed he had collected on some of the liens the old board filed prior to the expiration. I guess he thought it was easy money, all you have to do is certify that the restrictions are in effect and that you are a trustee or corporate officer and you get the money so tried to pull it on your company for a much bigger score.
I made many calls to my friends and neighbors here on Rivermont and can assure you that I have not found one person who knew what he had done. To the best of my knowledge, there is no registered Missouri association or trustees, this action was all David Rutherford.
I know his actions must have had an adverse effect on what was already a poor relationship between your company and the residents and landowners here but a significant part of that troubled relationship was created by at least one member of your corporation, your predecessor Mr. Joseph Flaherty.
When we received the first letter from Mr. Flaherty in February 2002, I contacted him and was very happy with the information he provided about the planned development; a large lot subdivision, good roads, indentures, restrictions and management. It was everything most of us had hoped for. I discussed the issue of our expired restrictions with him and asked if he would assist us in getting some new ones and setting up a legal landowners association. He told me he would take care of it and requested that I send him a copy of the expired restrictions and related documents. Which I promptly did.
In July we received another letter, he was working with planning and zoning, ready to submit for final approval, completing the indentures and restrictions, the lots were now open for sales.
In August another letter, DNR and P&Z approval anticipated in seven to ten days, ready to introduce the indentures and restrictions, all lot buyers will be required to sign, scheduling a meeting with all home and lot owners…… and then in the last paragraph, the information that started our relationship on a long downhill slide:
“I would also like to make a suggestion to you. Many of you have beautiful homes and
fantastic views but own less than four (4) acres. Jefferson County Planning and Zoning
requires four (4) acre minimum tracts for new lots or for new replatting of lots. As a
result, I would strongly urge you to consider buying more land. There will come a time
when you may wish to sell you home. With Jefferson County Planning and Zoning rules
and our develop-ment plan, everything at Rivermont will now be four (4) acres or more.
To make your home conform to our new plan, it would be a wise decision to acquire the
additional acreage to reach the required four (4) acres. Also, if a potential buyer
purchases your home and and they like your lot and view but are not content with tile
house, they may purchase your property regardless with the idea to rebuild. If you do
not have four (4) acres then this will defeat the sale. The potential buyer will not receive
the Planning and Zoning approval without the four (4) acres.”
This isn’t a misstatement it’s an outright lie. I’d guess that I received 40 or more calls from neighbors who were irate and angry that I would pass something like this while representing out township. I was a member of the first P&Z Commission that was ever installed in Jefferson County. We wrote or developed all of the required rules and regulations, necessary to implement P&Z in this county but we never wrote or adopted anything like this. I called the P&Z staff who told me they had already received many calls and verified that no such rule or regulation ever existed. I then called Mr. Flaherty, identified myself as a Rivermont home owner and asked him about these rules. He said yes, those are the rules, I’ve got a copy right here on my desk. I asked him for some identifying number and then suddenly he couldn’t fine his copy but would send one to me right away so I could start looking at the existing lots that were available starting at $6,000 an acre. Finally I called the County Commisioner’s Offices, who had also received many calls and told them I had nothing to do with this matter. A few days later we received another letter from Mr. Flaherty to “clarify” his August 29 letter in that 4 acres was not required to build or rebuild on an existing lot but the damage was done, just about every resident or landowner that I spoke to about his letter had already called him and had been told the same lies he told me.
On March 23, 2003 we received what I believe to be the last letter from Mr.Flaherty. This time he told us they had started construction on the roads down here, that the indentures and restrictions would soon be finalized and Gunflahr would like us to become a participant in the association and that he was “concerned about some of the recent happenings from homeowners. Stealing of trees, sign vandalism, trespassing and abuse of the area…..” but he was still willing to sell us some land. A few days after he accused us homeowners of being thieves, vandals and trespassers, he sent someone here to post no trespassing signs on just about every open lot even those that Gunflahr didn’t own. One was nailed to a tree on lot C which we own by someone who trespassed on our property to do so. We knew quite well that the road construction had begun because the destruction of our roads by your equipment had also started and of course we now know that the indentures and restrictions were not finalized until something like 2009 because two of our friends bought 3 of your lots on Hidden Glen, spent more thousands in improvements and construction only to discover that the indentures and restrictions that they had been told were attached to the deeds, had not been registered by your company. They told us that everyone who bought lots prior to 2009 was in the same situation. Since then we have met a number of those lot owners, few, if any, are happy with the situation.
The road construction Mr. Flaherty wrote of was a disaster. The equipment and trucks destroyed much of that section of Rivermont Trail. The rains and mud made it almost impassible. Every time one of us called him, he would say that Gunflahr owned the road and could do what they wished with them and every time anyone asked about repairing the damage he would say it was the responsibility of the trustees. I called him several times and got the same response. I stated he knew there were no restrictions, trustees or road assessments. He said that was not his problem, we could sign the Gunflahr restrictions if we chose to have restrictions. Finally, one of our neighbors, Mrs. Yarnell who was on constant medical oxygen called him because her oxygen supply truck could not get through the mud to deliver her oxygen. He gave her the same answers and she called a lawyer who called someone in your organization I don’t know the specifics but the next day the road was stabilized with loads of rock and the truck was able to get through. Mrs. Yarnell told us Mr. Flaherty contacted her and promised that all damage caused by the road construction would be repaired at no cost to us as soon as the last of the construction was completed. That damage was repaired but the construction itself was an exercise in incompetence. First there is no drainage system or substantial supporting subgrade, the surface was laid on whatever fill rock or dirt that was present when the surface was cut, then a chip and seal surface was installed which lasted all of 6 months and fell apart, then a layer of asphalt was laid, but someone forgot to install the underground electrical conduits which are normally installed when the initial grading is ongoing, the trenches therefore had to be cut through the solid rock with a circular rock trencher to avoid damaging the asphalt surface. A slow and expensive process, then when they had installed conduit to end of Hidden Glen, someone figured out that they would have to go all the way back on the other side of the road to provide service to that side and the work was abandoned. I’ve seen and worked on hundreds of subdivision road projects but never one like this, I don’t know who managed all of this but it was certainly an expensive lesson in how not to manage road construction
One morning after the clearing and grading was completed on Hidden Glen, I went out to get in my car to find a bulldozer and a track hoe driving up Rivermont Trail to the new Rivermont Trail extension worksite grinding the pavement to pieces as they went. I called Mr. Flaherty. He promised to repave it when the work was completed. That damage was never repaired.
Then came Rivermont Bluffs, your proposed 206 lot subdivision on the Highway 30 side of Rivermont that would use part of Rivermont’s upper roads as a second point of access/egress. Your attitude at using this 10’ wide lane for that much potential traffic was exactly the same, “we own the roads” and it got everyone up in arms. So now instead of a handful of people down here complaining about your callous, uncaring attitude toward the residents, you’ve got just about everyone, a retired judge, 2 school principals, some realtors, a priest, a lot of professionals, all going to work, church, the Lions Club, VFW, American Legion and talking about the shoddy and disrespectful way they are being treated by Gunflahr and Gundaker.
In 2005 the Lorenz Farm located at the intersection of Burgan Grove and Rivermont trail was sold to a couple who turned it into a horse boarding facility. The people who were boarding their horses started riding them on Rivermont’s roads, trails and other people’s property. Private stables are a permitted use in the R-40 zone district but this use is not a private use nor is it grandfathered, the Lorenz farm was a farm not a boarding operation. I knew the new owners. The boarding operation was a cash sideline for them Gravois Land was gone you were the new owners of the roads and I decided not to make an issue of it. Gravois Land never permitted horse riding on Rivermont’s roads. That was the policy for all of the years that I was on the board and for many years prior according to many of the older members. Those members and the officers of Gravois Land advised it was strictly prohibited for the safety of the riders and the protection of the corporation against liability should a rider get hit by a car or hurt in a fall and to prevent damage to the roads and shoulders caused by the horses hoofs. We were approached several times by residents who wanted to ride on the roads and they were denied permission. Our unofficial legal advisor, Judge Charles Sheehan advised us that these roads are very narrow with steel slopes and blind curves. If we allowed residents to ride on them along with the cars and school busses it was just a matter of when someone was going to be hit or fall and be injured and when that happened someone would be sued. Of course when the restrictions expired there was no governing body and a couple of residents rode on the roads. Rivermont’s owners didn’t like it but it was only 2 people and there was little they could do to stop it. With the sale of the land to you and the opening of this boarding facility there were now 12 or more horses being ridden on the roads many at the same time. I had a very close call where I had to drive my car into someone’s yard to avoid 3 riders riding abreast in the middle of the road on a blind curve. I wrote a letter to the facility owners which covered the situation, stated that he was aware of it, condoned it, if I or anyone else was injured as a result it was his and/or his customer’s responsibility. I hand delivered it. We had a pleasant discussion. I suggested he contact Gunflahr land to protect all of us. It was their road now. If they were Ok with riding on the roads/trails and something happened, it was theirs. I don’t know if he ever contacted you but he did tell his customers to stay off of the roads.
A couple of years later, ill health forced these owners to sell this facility to new owners who have a far different attitude with regard to their neighbors, the use of the roads, trails and other people’s land to further their business interests. The new owners made some improvements to the fences along Rivermont Trail and Hidden Glen and changed the boarding stable into an “equine facility”. They posted signs advising all that their facility operating under and covered by the equine laws of the state. They increased their client base which increased the number of horses and almost immediately the number of horse rider/ resident landowner conflicts; Groups of riders on the roads, blocking traffic, riding on resident’s private property damaging lawns. I was present at several of these in which the riders claimed the Missouri Equine laws gave them the right to ride on any road and across all property in the state. The riders also claimed to have the approval of the owners of Rivermont Ranch and by coincidence the name the new owners have posted on their equine facility is Rivermont Ranch. We’ve also had a couple of incidents of theft on properties where someone has been riding through on a horse. I found a rider down by my storage shed one afternoon. When I told her to leave, she told me she was going down to the river, the equine laws gave her the legal right to ride through my property. A few days later I found a bucket of copper fittings that had been taken from the shed and hidden next to the road. I sought out this rider and told her if she ever entered my property again I would prosecute her for trespass and I had a very heated confrontation with one of the facility owners who tried to feed me the line about the equine laws and said he was going to go the Hillsboro and have all the property posted so his guests could ride anywhere they chose. I wished him good luck because the Missouri Equine Laws (537.325.1) contain nothing about a right to ride on private property or roads, it mainly confers limited immunity against liability to equine facilities, owners, professionals and sponsors so if we hit one of his customers on the road, or one is injured on the road or on our property they can’t sue him but they can sue the property or road owners.
A short time later we had another incident involving horses being ridden on another residents property and a break-in occurring. We had lived here for over 40 years and never had any break-ins on this lower road. Now we had 2 in just a few months both occurring around the time frames when riders just happened to be in the vicinity.
All that’s happened to Rivermont Ranch since then can most accurately be described as nothing positive.
We received your updated price and availability list in December 2014 and note that you have reduced the price on your lots. I’d assume you did this to boost sales so I ask you to put yourself in the position of a prospective buyer. You come out here on a Saturday or Sunday. You come in Burgan Grove, it’s a pretty good road with some very nice new homes on it. When you get to Rivermont Trail, the first thing you see to welcome you is a row of large potholes, then you turn onto Rivermont Trail and find piles of horse manure, maybe a few riders and several cars or trucks that are parked on a part of the shoulders and taking up about a third of the road because the new equine facility fence is encroaching well into the easement which is supposed to be 40’ wide and the facility owners did not make provisions for customer parking. You maneuver around these and notice that the other side of the road is just about totally overgrown and the fence on that side is also very close to the pavement. If it’s been raining recently you get to drive through the mud because the shoulders have been damaged by all of the vehicle traffic, parking and driveway washout. If you encounter another vehicle you have drive on the shoulder and must decide to either take the chance that you won’t get stuck in the mud or back all the way out to the intersection. Then when you get to Hidden Glen you notice that the development sign is just about totally overgrown and the sold indicators are faded to the point of being unreadable. You also notice that the pavement is severely cracked and separated in many places along the road due to erosion and the lack of a proper drainage. Now you drive up Hidden glen and notice that the weeds and growth is 4 to 5 feet high all the way to the edge of the pavement and there are no signs indicating the lot numbers or property line stakes or flags to show you where the open lots are located. If you want to actually walk the ground you will need a machete to cut your way in and you might want to watch out for riders as they can sometimes be aggressive when they find people on “their” riding trails. If you proceed up Hidden glen you will find some very nice homes until you get to the last home which looks like a lean-to on steroids. If you encounter the owner of the next lot he will tell you about the beautiful home he was going to build until he discovered that the restrictions his realtor told him were in effect here were never registered. The next lot has a FISBO sign on it that has been up for years. If you encounter or check with any of the other homeowners they might tell you about the fact that there is no road maintenance or snow removal and how much fun they have trying to get in and out when we have any snow or ice. If you go back and drive further down Rivermont Trail you will find that it is full of potholes damaged by erosion and partially covered with gravel that we brought in because the road was turning into dirt and mud on the sections damaged by your equipment. You will notice that the shoulders have been fairly well maintained by each individual property owner but when you get to the sections approaching the transition into the new extension, the road is only about 10’ wide and in very bad condition. When you get to the new pavement you will notice that it’s badly cracked and falling down the slope the road is badly overgrown with evidence of severe erosion and you will see that someone has built a metal building that is surrounded with construction materials and junk. If you are like most people who we know that have looked at this development, you will most likely turn around, go out and never return.
Most people who are looking at outlying residential acreage that has no public water, sewer or gas available have done some investigation into the cost of development and improvement. A private sewage disposal system will average around $25,000, a well, $10,000, rock excavation, another $10,000. Your new prices average about $40,000, so a person will have about $80,000 invested before driving 1 nail or pouring 1 foot of concrete add an average of $175,000 for the structure and you have an investment of over $250,000. Why don’t you take a ride out here and ask yourself if you would spend a quarter of a million dollars on a place with no restrictions, where the owner of the next lot could build something that would destroy your property value and the salability of your home, where there is no road maintenance or snow removal and where the surrounding subdivision access and egress is just as bad if not worse?
I’d say that the answer lies in the fact that you opened sales on a 48 lot subdivision in July 2002 and as of December 2014 you’ve only sold 22 lots. You own around 100 additional platted lots here and I don’t think you’ve sold more than a few, if any. You reduced the selling price of your phase 1 lots by an average of $20,000 in 2014 at a time when the property values increased by 4% in Jefferson County. I don’t think you’ve sold any more lots since. Even using the most liberal method of calculation, this development has been a failure. I know why and I know how to fix it.
From 1984 until 1990 I was an owner and Master Plumber of a plumbing business that specialized in new residential construction. McBride & Sons was our largest client. We did 100% of their work in St. Louis County. I saw them close hundreds of lots and subdivisions in record times, Riverwood Trails, Riverwood Place, Barrington Downs, Cherry Hills, Christopher Oaks, Point Clayton, Clayton Woods and many more. We also did work on large lot subdivisions for Arthur Simon and work at Hawks Rest. In 1991 I was appointed the St. Louis County Supervisor of Plumbing and Sewer Inspection in the new Buzz Westfall administration and in 2006 I became the Municipal Contract Manager. I have witnessed and participated in the dozens of residential and commercial developments in Jefferson and St. Louis Counties. I have witnessed success and failures. I know caused the failures and what the successful developers did to achieve their success.
All of the successful builders, developers and their development have common elements regardless of the size of the lots or the development. When perspective buyers come to their developments, the streets are well maintained and clean, no mud, dirt or animal waste, the shoulders are cut back to the lot lines, good management is evidenced in signage as required, parking signs, signs limiting road use to licensed vehicles, no atv’s, trail bikes or horses and above all, every successful developer has an excellent reputation gained by treating its clients with respect, honesty and courtesy. I met families buying their second or third McBride home, sons, daughters, relatives and friends of McBride homeowners who were buying a McBride home. I saw McBride do things for their homeowners, fix things that were long out of warranty, things that the Taylor’s or Mayer’s or many other builders would never do but they did them because they knew those homeowners or their family or friends would hear about it and buy a McBride home at some future time. They did and continue to do so while and prosper while the other builders are long gone.
When we had a real board of corporate trustees here on Rivermont, we encountered many of the problems that exist now but we addressed and resolved them. The roads were very well maintained, each year we would chip and seal a portion of the roads. On average we sealed all of the roads every 5 to 6 years. We encouraged all home and lot owners to keep the shoulders and drainage ditches cut and clean, most did. We used a local contractor to cut, clean and grade the remaining areas to ensure that runoff didn’t damage the road surfaces. We did not allow horses, dirt bikes or atv’s on the roads, we enforced those rules and the restrictions and the owners of Gravois Land backed us up in just about every instance. We had issues with people riding horses or unlicensed vehicles on the roads, parking on the shoulders. We would send them a nice letter on Rivermont Ranch/ Gravois Land letterhead advising them of the rules and requesting that they observe them. If a second was necessary it would remind them that the corporation owned the roads and easements, the landowners had the right of access to their property and use of the roads and trails to the extent permitted and or granted by the corporation. If a third was needed it was stop what you’re doing immediately or we will file against you on this date, drafted by our legal advisor. Other than filing liens I don’t think we ever had to take anyone to court.
Rivermont Ranch used to be a beautiful subdivision and it can be again. It was like one of those scenes found on country life magazines. When we came here the first time in 1972 we fell in love with the place and the people. This was a place where homes were often sold before they were even listed. A place where a lot of visitors wanted to buy a home or a lot and live and it can be again with your assistance. You are the corporation now, your corporation owns the majority of the land that makes up Rivermont Ranch. We all have a lot to lose if this development fails and we have a lot to gain if it is successful.
We have formed a small group of residents representing homeowners from the intersection of Rivermont Trail and Burgan Grove to the end of the new Rivermont Trail extension and Hidden Glen. We are a small group, composed of only residents who live on Rivermont Trail from the intersection of Burgan Grove to the end of the new Rivermont trail extension and Hidden Glen. We have not included any more of the existing subdivision because there are too many people there who are determined to oppose any development. It has been tried before and it failed every time due to those who think they can resurrect the old Rivermont Ranch. Not everyone here is with us but we have a good committed majority of homeowners and this is where the phase 1 development is located. This is where the success or failure will happen. Success is a great motivator. If we work together we can form a managing body that includes and protects all of us, institute controls on the activities that impede successful development, repair the roads, cut the weeds back, make the lots look like they are ready for new owners to start building. If we do that and your lots start selling which will generate more money for improvements, the other parts of Rivermont will see what we’ve done, want to be a part of that success and you will be welcomed when you sell out here and look to development off of the other roads.
We would very much appreciate your assistance in getting this started. Many of us have lived here for years, many, like us are retired and living on fixed incomes. We raised our children here and would love to spend the rest of our lives here. We are willing to invest in our homes and community but we need to know that it’s not going to be a waste of our time and money.
We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the future of Rivermont Ranch. Thank you for any advice and assistance you might provide.