Joe's Corner  

Joe White - Real Estate Broker
Northern California Real Estate
Northwest Sonoma County and Southern Mendocino County
Recreational And Estate Properties
We have been doing this since 1976


February 5, 2010

There are 6 subdivisions created in N/W Sonoma County in the late 60's and up to March 12, 1972. That is the date the Subdivision Map Act became effective in Sonoma County and the requirements became so difficult that no one has tried a rural large lot subdivision since. I am not including the Sea Ranch in this group. The CC&R's varied from none to extremely detailed. The most invasive are Timber Cove and The Sea Ranch.

I am the only person or Real Estate Broker alive that I know of who has been involved in sales or transactions in all of these subdivisions except The Sea Ranch. In the area of Annapolis, I seem to have handled more transactions in the last 30 years than everyone else combined. Value is established through a process of evaluating and comparing time to get there, privacy, amenities, improvements, usable land, income potential, ambiance, neighboring properties, water, percolation, the neighbor from hell?, CC&R's and what is available. From 30 years of evaluating country property over about 225 square miles, I have established a long track record of accurately estimating value.

The Sea Ranch has done an excellent job of developing a large piece of ground. They do control the look of houses down to the color of your drapes.

As Timber Cove had a few who liked being on the board and did so for 20 or more years. They became very impressed with their vision of how the rules should be interpreted. I wanted to build there and wanted to use a cement fake shake roof in about 1989. This was just before the Oakland fire. They would not allow it. They would not allow me to place my normal Real Estate For Sale sign. I took them to court and I won. Fifteen years later they are back taking down Real Estate Signs they do not like. They would not allow trees to be cut except within 30 ft. of the house. The CDF finally forced them to change due to the obvious fire problems. I ended up deciding dealing with property there was not worth the problems the homeowners association created. Values there are considerably lower than they should be due to the intrusive nature of their board. When these subdivisions were created it was by people who thought they could entice Buyers by creating what they thought Buyers wanted. Dick, who created Timber Cove, considered himself an intellectual. Thus he created a set of CC&R's that were lofty in their description of goals, materials and limitations. Life tends not to be lofty. I talked to a new prospect recently who had looked in Timber Cove and decided he also did not like the attitude/atmosphere that had been created by the Home Owners Association. Turning in your neighbor has turned out to create an environment Hitler would have liked.

Masonite, who created two subdivisions in Annapolis were loggers and wood products manufactures. I think their intention when they said commercial was to eliminate retail and the guy who was a shade tree mechanic who had 15 cars in his yard. Their primary prospect was people fleeing the city looking for privacy, tranquility, quality of life, produce their own food and so forth. In my opinion it certainly was not their INTENT to eliminate farming or a timber harvest. If it had been to do that they would have said so. Wildwood has allowed a minority to limit commercial, farming, grapes or any work in their subdivision until 2014 when I expect the CC&R's to die. They have already done so in the other subdivision.

The Gualala Ranch has grown up and is easy to work with. The Muniz Ranch started fairly liberal and understanding and has remained so. The Wickersham Ranch is very rural and had no CC&R's. It to has matured.

Joe White