The Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association is pulling the plug on tenant leases in its clubhouse, limiting access to association members and their guests. The decision affects Play Date, a daycare program which partly operates out of the building, and Town Church Truckee — both of which up until recently offered services to the broad public.
Plans to discontinue clubhouse use by the two tenants came down from the residents association board, which maintains that there’s a laundry list of reasons contributing to the decision: insurance cost and coverage, association staff time cost, and ADA accessibility being the key points.
Town Church Truckee is already gone, leaving after its usage agreement with the homeowners association (HOA) ended in September 2020, and now operates in the Pioneer Center, off Pioneer Trail in Truckee. Luke Lewis, the church’s pastor, declined to comment on the situation as a whole.
The daycare business, however, is still there, though not for long. After hearing comments from community members unhappy with Play Date’s departure, the board drafted a quick three-month-long 2021 lease for the business, from Jan. 1 through March 31, to allow additional time for the daycare program to figure out next steps. Play Date, a Glenshire staple for 20 years, offers preschool care out of a separate Glenshire-based building and utilizes the clubhouse for its kindergarten-and-up aged children and summer camps. During pandemic in-person school closures, the daycare hired teachers to offer full-time distance learning pods at the clubhouse.
Now, the eventual absence of Play Date has left a number of neighborhood residents facing a lack of childcare options, all while the clubhouse itself will remain a shell of potential.
“What else are you going to do with that building?” asks Glenshire resident Heather Hawkins. “[Daycare is] such a perfect use of that building.”
It’s not you, it’s our insurance
The sands began shifting in early 2020, when insurance discussions cropped up among HOA staff in advance of the annual April renewal. At that time, the association was paying for a base insurance policy that provided up to $2 million per occurrence, plus an umbrella (or excess) policy, providing an additional $5 million in coverage. (For comparison, Adrian Juncosa, one of the association’s board members, told Moonshine that he’s aware of another similar-sized HOA in the region that has an umbrella coverage limit three times larger than what the Glenshire association carries.)
“I’m not sure whether it was the broker or, more likely, the [umbrella insurance] company that jumped on the internet and looked at our HOA and found that look, there’s daycare on-site,” Juncosa said. “That changes their insurance situation.”
The insurer said premiums would increase based on the daycare business so the association’s broker sought out other options. In the umbrella policy ultimately selected for the 2020/2021 fiscal year, there were two very notable exclusions from the coverage: water hazard (referring specifically to the Glenshire pond, which is oft used for ice skating during cold months) and snow and ice removal.
“Those are important exclusions because those are two of the main things that one can easily think of that might be the cause of a claim against the association,” he continued. “Our [umbrella] insurance, that was an important thing. We were not able [while] working with our insurance broker to come up with anything with [excess] coverage … that didn’t have those exclusions.”
The association was faced with a choice: keep Play Date and use umbrella insurance coverage that both cost more money and excludes water hazard and snow/ice removal or forego Play Date’s clubhouse lease, pay lower insurance premiums, and have the water, snow, and ice coverage.
In the March 2021 edition of The Shire, the magazine for the Glenshire/Devonshire community, the board included a statement (p. 16) on what the increased insurance costs meant: “Due to the presence of daycare at the time of renewal, our total liability insurance premiums for the April 2020 renewal cost over $22,000 more than the rate without daycare.”
Juncosa shared separately with the Ink that “these exclusions mean that there is a risk of up to $3,865 borne by every member of the association as a consequence of the change in insurance coverage resulting from presence of daycare on site.”
Tyler Ross, owner and sole proprietor of Play Date, corresponded with Moonshine via email and walked through the unfolding events from his own point of view. Ross has owned the daycare for four years, and before that worked on the staff for 12 years.
“I was first kind of ‘notified’ [about potential lease issues] in a March/April 2020 board meeting, where I happened to be in attendance for a completely different subject,” Ross wrote. “The [Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association] board just mentioned to me ‘there’s a problem with insurance and we are actively working on it.’ I was a bit bewildered [and] shocked, but by their … body language, speech, and tone, it sounded like they were letting me know and handling it. They assured me that they were ‘doing everything to take care of it.’”
Ross said he heard continued mention of the mysterious issue through June 2020 and was told in July (followed by an official notice at the end of August) that Play Date’s contract wouldn’t be renewed after 2020.
The December lease termination, Juncosa explained, would give the staff and board plenty of time to reinstall umbrella insurance at a cheaper price and with water hazard and snow/ice coverage.
Blowback and feedback
Members of the Glenshire community reared their heads in reaction to the news.
“I heard about the closure from my neighbor [whose children also participate in Play Date] who came over … knocking on my door like, ‘Oh my god, have you heard?’” recalled Hawkins, a Glenshire resident since 2016. Her two daughters attend Play Date programs. “I was like no, what on earth? I connected with [Ross] that night to see if I could help him in any way. I think it took the HOA two or three weeks to even make a statement about it, and then it took another month for them to agree to have an open meeting about it.”
A special board meeting took place (virtually) on Oct. 7, 2020, with one item between call-to-order and adjournment: Play Date. The meeting was about three hours long and Ross said over 120 people tuned in to share why the daycare should or shouldn’t stay. Hawkins couldn’t recall anyone outrightly opposed to keeping Play Date around.
The total number of families affected by the daycare’s departure is 30 out of the 1,357 households in Glenshire and Devonshire.
“There were people on that call with the HOA board [that were] dual essential worker families,” Hawkins said, “like a nurse and a firefighter crying about how do we continue to live in Glenshire if there’s not childcare?”
A week later, at the Oct. 14 regular board meeting, the board allowed the creation of a task force made up of community members to explore possible solutions to keep Play Date around.
Tom Collins, Glenshire resident since 2018 and insurance professional, was part of the task force — which comprised six members, two of whom were alternates — and was officially known as the Clubhouse Use Advisory Committee. Collins said that the committee focused on what they were told the issues were (insurance, ADA compliance, HOA staff time supporting the daycare) and assigned out different roles based on people’s expertise: “We went through this list with 20 or so [community members] and we’re like, okay you do this, you do this, you know about construction, you know about legal stuff. I happen to work in insurance, so I was like ‘I’ll look into the insurance.’”
Collins spoke with the HOA’s broker and learned more about the specific insurance situation and why the original insurance company backed off upon learning of the on-site daycare.
“Before the daycare was realized, back prior to April 2020, the insurance was placed with what’s called an admitted market,” Collins said. “It’s like a regulated insurance product that’s available to insurance brokers for them to buy on behalf of their client. When that admitted insurance carrier said we’re not going to provide you coverage anymore because of your daycare, the broker had to go to what’s called a non-admitted [or surplus lines] carrier … That surplus lines insurance carrier said we don’t care about the daycare. In fact, we don’t really care about what you’ve got going on in the HOA, every HOA is the same to us whether or not they have a daycare on site.
“That being said, we don’t want to cover anything related to the pond and anything related to the snow and ice. Those restrictions weren’t necessarily tied to daycare operation so much as they were tied to a different insurance carrier insuring an HOA.”
Ultimately, the committee submitted a 48-page proposal outlining its work to propose continued use of the Glenshire clubhouse by Play Date. Included in the document was the recommendation for a short-term lease agreement with Play Date from Jan. 1, 2021 through June 25; increased Covid-19 mitigation efforts; and restricting participation to members only.
Review of the proposal ultimately led to a new lease for Play Date, but only through March 31. View the 2021 lease here.
“The reason it was set to end at the end of March is that our insurance renews in April, and in the event that the only way to get our old insurance coverage and lower premiums back was to have no daycare there then we had to have no daycare there as of March 31 in order to get our renewal processed,” Juncosa explained. “That’s what determines the date.”
Pulling back on the reins
Play Date was allowed to squeak into 2021 at the clubhouse, but the new lease came with stricter guidelines. Ross jokes that the “Treaty of Versailles would have been a better deal” before describing the new stipulations: increased rent, an equivalent deposit, limited access to clubhouse grounds, fewer children attending per day, payment of utility bills, provision of cleaning and toiletry supplies, and HOA members only.
Juncosa explained that the increase in rent was included in the new lease because Play Date had shifted from a morning and afternoon service to all-day in light of Covid-19 and the pause of in-person schools. The portion of utilities to be paid was compromised by both parties, he continued, and relative to the increased use, too.
Of the membership requirement, Juncosa said, “One of the new requirements in this current lease that’s in effect that’s different from the past is that explicitly the tenant, the lessee, Play Date, is only allowed to provide services to members and their tenants of members. A member is someone who builds a house here … Some people own a house, but they don’t live here; they rent it out, and those tenants are allowed to use the association facilities (the pool and the clubhouse and amenities) available to the members even though they don’t have membership.
“The current lease restricts Play Date to serve only members and tenants, whereas former restrictions did not exist in the previous lease.”
Reasoning behind the members-only restriction was that if non-HOA residents were participating in Play Date at the clubhouse, the building was considered public use and thus needed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by providing equal access to all clubhouse users.
“[The clubhouse is] a private amenity for members, so [ADA compliance is] not strictly required,” Juncosa said. “It would be a desirable thing to be fully ADA compliant, [but] we’re not. There’s a particular type of inspection you can get to see in what respects you’re not ADA compliant and what it would take to bring it into compliance. It’s a long-term goal, but it’s a considerable cost and it’s a huge administrative task to decide what to do first.”
The 2021 lease didn’t greatly affect children attending Play Date; Ross said that by the end of 2020, three non-members were still participating. While the program primarily served HOA residents, services were always extended to families in the local community.
“One little girl, for example, had a walker and [her] mom had shared with me that other programs could not accommodate her,” Ross said. “I … made sure we did because, to me, that little girl absolutely deserves a summer slipping down waterslides, getting a pie in the face, laughing, and making friends who care about her, and we continually modified everything on the spot to allow her to participate wherever she could and wanted.”
Also in consideration for Play Date’s lease expiration is the amount of association staff time spent on managing the daycare and ongoing maintenance on equipment.
Overall, Juncosa put it plainly: “Having the daycare operate on GDRA premises cost the association much more money than the amount received in rent.”
Now, by restricting clubhouse access to HOA members only, the building may experience a drop in use, though Juncosa doesn’t foresee any significant lack in numbers. Meanwhile, pandemic-caused restrictions don’t currently allow gatherings like birthday parties and weddings or yoga and dance classes. Juncosa said gatherings would allow non-members as guests, but wasn’t sure how membership will play a role in class attendance moving forward.
“To my knowledge, the clubhouse is not available for member use during the declared emergency,” Juncosa said. “Sometime hopefully during 2021 that will be relaxed. Our staff does occasionally go in the building, but also works at home.”
Hawkins, who’s stayed in Glenshire specifically because of the family-friendly attitude and amenities like Play Date, says the entire neighborhood’s vibe is thrown off kilter with this event.
“For me, it impacts the livability of Glenshire for young families and that ultimately impacts property values,” she said. “If part of the HOA’s job is to preserve property values and make this a livable community, it doesn’t make sense to completely kill any kind of summer care and any kind of before- and after-school care.”
Beyond the clubhouse
The sudden absence of Play Date leaves a void in already scarce daycare options.
“We’ve called Kids Corner, which is the daycare program that runs out of Glenshire Elementary before and after school, and they can’t take these kids,” Hawkins said. “We all have felt firsthand the pain of trying to find other daycare spaces for kids. There’s no school-age daycare, even in-house daycare that I know of, in Glenshire. It’s all really young kids. There’s no other summer camp program that runs out of Glenshire. At all. There’s no place else for all these kids to go inside Glenshire.”
Juncosa himself said that calls to the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District about its own daycare service also yielded no room.
But Ross isn’t giving up. He says he has a couple different ideas post-March 31, one of which includes ultimately crowdfunding and building a large, AstroTurf-ed indoor facility.
“Our hope is that other than when we are using it, that [American Youth Soccer Organization] and other youth groups could use the [would-be] facility year-round,” Ross wrote. “I have some mega-size bounce houses and I thought it would be cool to offer some community day events on some weekends for families to bring their kids to do.”
If a property is found, Ross said he’ll launch a massive campaign to crowdfund a purchase, “offering lifetime discounts for eligible donations that would apply to entire family systems, along [with] donation recognition walls within the facility commending individual families’ contributions for the community.”
In the meantime, however, Play Date’s school-aged services will look different after the end of March. The preschool services are slated to stay the same.
“We’re unable to take any more students after March 31 …” Ross wrote. “We will still be looking to offer childcare on school-designated holidays and [during the] summer, but the actual school-year program will eclipse.”
From April through June, current participants in the daycare program will attend Play Date at a specific Glenshire location that Ross asked not to be public.