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Woodland Valley Ranch Property Owners Association

Come see the big skies of Woodland Valley Ranch - located on Hwy 191 north of St. Johns, Arizona 

Highlights of Presentation by Apache County Sheriff’s Department

June 23, 2018

Speakers:
Commander Scruggs
Sergeant Dale Sloan
Deputy Braxton Brown

  • Burglaries of unoccupied homes are a huge problem in Apache County, but worse at the ranch because it is isolated and remote.
  • Commander Struggs recommends people arm themselves. The Sheriff’s office is responsible for operations from Witch Wells down to south of Alpine. 8,000 square miles and at any one time there are only two officers on duty.
  • Most calls revolve around civil disputes involving property lines, easements and N roads. Sometimes N roads are deeded into your property, sometimes they are in easements and sometimes they are county roads. If it is a marked N road and a public thoroughfare, police will respond to these disputes. Residents cannot fence off N roads, create speed bumps on N roads or otherwise interfere with the passage of others. The police will enforce those things.
  • Having a neighbor drive onto your property to leave tire tracks on your drive doesn’t help much. Thieves know when you are there.
  • Single most important action to take is to document your property. Most burglars are drug addicts who want things they can move easily, 4-wheelers, chain saws, TVs, computers. Photograph each item of property making sure you capture the serial number. When the items is pawned police can check the serial number and prove it is yours, otherwise it is gone forever.
  • The items burglars steal does not often make sense. People have had ammunition and change stolen and the laptop and TV left behind. Some thieves have stolen dishes, curtains; sometimes they deface and destroy, but take nothing.
  • Does video surveillance help? The police are starting to see more of this and there is no doubt it helps.
  • Pawn shops legally have to put the information on the item presented into a database. Burglars are not always the one pawning the item. They trade the items for drugs and it is usually someone else who pawns them. One local will take anything in trade for methamphetamine.
  • Legally, you have a right to defend yourself. If someone is threatening your life you can use force to stop the threat. However, even if you are in the right you will still get sued because they know they can get money from your insurance company.
  • Be careful with your weapons—A local woman was killed last year in a home invasion. She owned a gun and held it on a fourteen-year-old who broke in. He wrested the gun from her and fatally shot her.
  • Fortunately, Commander Struggs does not see a lot of home invasions. He has investigated just 4-5 in 20 years.
  • Using force can lead to a legal quagmire, but you have to protect yourself as the police cannot be there fast enough. If they receive an emergency, life threatening call they will drop everything and can have a full response team out in 20 minutes if they know where you live.
  • NUMBER 1 PRIORITY TO IMPROVE RESPONSE TIME—MARK YOUR HOUSE/DRIVEWAY WITH THE ADDRESS USING THE N ROAD NUMBER. OBTAIN YOUR N NUMBER NOW! ALL FIRST RESPONDERS NAVIGATE WITH N NUMBERS NOT ROAD NAMES.
  • Woodland Valley Ranch has 2/3 of its street signs up already, final 1/3 will go up by end of year. As soon as name signs go up the county will follow with N numbers.
  • The county is in the process hiring more people if a detective squad is approved. All officers are detectives but right now they still have to respond to routine calls as well as investigate more serious crimes. Five detectives will allow for complete focus to be on these crimes.
  • If you have to call 911 and your house is not marked you have to give directions, stay on the phone with the dispatcher. Police maps are marked by road numbers themselves, no names.
  • Ambulances use the same information as the police --N numbers. One woman broke her hip, the ambulance spent 2 ½ hours trying to find her as she lay on the ground.
  • The police WILL call for a helicopter and the police ride for free. It will cost you $40,000 or more. If you want a chance to survive you want a helicopter.
  • There is insurance you can buy for around $100/year and it will cover the cost of emergency helicopters.
  • MASA.com sell subscriptions for medical transport. It costs about $3,800 family of two for retired military and a few hundred dollars more for non-military. This is a one-time charge and it covers flights anywhere in world, both helicopter and fixed wing.
  • The Apache County Sheriff’s office is the number one law enforcement entity in the county. The department is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect, defend and save the lives of its citizens.
  • What Tickets Can the Police Write on Private Roads? Police will write tickets for DUIs on private roads, but will not stop you for a tail light out. Police can only act on minor infractions when they have authority, which they do not have on private roads.
  • Beware of Fraudulent Schemes. There has been an influx of calls from people who have received calls from someone saying they are from the county sheriff’s department and you have several charges against you and you must send money. NO ONE WILL CALL YOU. ALL POLICE, IRS, JUDICIAL COMMUNICATIONS ARE SENT BY MAIL ONLY.  You will never be called or emailed.
  • DO NOT OPEN EMAILS FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES. NEVER OPEN ATTACHMENTS SENT WITH THESE EMAILS.
  • IF YOU ANSWER ONE OF THESE CALLS, DO NOT GO TO THE LOCAL STORE AND GET A GREEN DOT CASH CARD AND GIVE ANYONE THE NUMBER. Once you have given that number police cannot trace it. It is GONE. These calls are all hoaxes.
  • DO NOT SEND MONEY TO A CALLER SAYING YOU HAVE WON A TRIP TO HAWAII OR ANYWHERE ELSE.
  • If you receive phone calls soliciting donations from someone representing the local police/fire department be aware that a very small percentage of the donation goes to the cause, most of the money goes to pay for the fundraising organization soliciting the donation.
  • The time to plan for a crisis is BEFORE the crisis occurs. Write down directions to your home beforehand and have them ready when you dial 911, stay on the phone with the dispatcher. The only information the police have is what the dispatcher gives them.
  • If you see people driving on the ranch whom you do not recognize, and they look suspicious jot down their license plate.
  • The vast majority of burglaries occur in daytime. Everyone needs to be observant. Burglars will pose as hunters. Sometimes when a company does work on your home an employee will come back and rob you. Be alert.
  • If you call 911 YOU HAVE TO GIVE DISPATCHER THE INFORMATION. Do not insist on speaking to the deputy. Calls MUST go through dispatcher.

 

NOTES FOR POTENTIAL BUYERS AND VISITORS AT WOODLAND VALLEY RANCH

It goes without saying that you should always read the fine print before you sign a legal contract.  All too often however, buyers sign away without conducting due diligence into what they are buying when they purchase land that is remote and off the grid.  And all too often, those same buyers will yell the loudest when the realization hits that they have purchased land that has no amenities, other than the natural beauty of the land and sky that only nature can present.  If you are considering buying land at WVR or plan to visit please consider the following:

  1. This area sometimes receives very heavy rains that cause flooding.  And sometimes even heavy rains to the east of us, in New Mexico, can cause floods to occur at WVR even when it isn't raining at WVR.  There are many washes, draws and streams that could be dry and passable one minute, and literally flowing with water the next.  Be advised, when floods occur your access to your property may be impeded.  Likewise, if you are at your property, you may not be able to leave.  IF FLASH FLOODS HIT WHILE YOU ARE AT YOUR PROPERTY, YOU ARE ADVISED NOT TO ATTEMPT TRAVEL UNTIL THE ROADS DRY!
  2. When you visit the ranch, be wise enough to bring plenty of personal and emergency supplies with you!  If you visit during inclement weather, you may be stuck for hours, or even days.  Plan ahead and use common sense.
  3. There are NO UTILITIES at the ranch.  This is what is meant by "off-grid".  Depending on your cell phone carrier's coverage, your cell phone might not work in some areas of the ranch.  Verizon Wireless has fairly good coverage in this area.
  4. Most of the roads at WVR are bladed ONE TIME per year.  The roads are considered primitive at best.  Keep this in mind while driving on the ranch roads.  Travel slowly and with care.  If you open a gate to go through it, you are responsible for making sure the gate is closed and latched after you go through.  Watch for cattle!  The entire ranch is open range, except on properly fenced lots.  It is suggested that you ask your realtor to fully explain Arizona open range laws and what rights you will have (or not have) before you sign any contracts.
  5. Study flood maps before signing contracts.  Just because that beautiful lot was dry when you visited doesn't mean it stays dry all year round.
  6. All properties at WVR have easements surrounding them.  Easement restrictions are strictly enforced.
  7. WVR roads are (unfortunately) used by hunters and campers throughout the year to access BLM and State Trust Land on the ranch.  Sometimes these non-owners do not follow hunting rules and will shoot where they should not.  Do not hesitate to call the sheriffs department if hunters are shooting within 1/4 mile of your home, buildings, camp site, or vehicle.  The ranch CC&Rs forbid WVR property owners from shooting on their own land.  The CC&Rs were created by the original developer, not the property owners association.
  8. There is a CONVENIENCE well located in the north east area of the ranch.  It is for the convenience of the POA members only and subject to rules of use.  There is a 500 gallon per week limit PER PROPERTY OWNER (subject to change).   There are no carry-overs from week to week. If more than one person or a business owns property (regardless of the number of lots owned) at WVR, it still counts as a single owner.  Water from the well is only for household use, not for large animals, landscaping, vehicle washing, etc.  Owners caught violating the rules may be fined.