As residents of Oakmont Village, we find ourselves standing at a pivotal moment in the history of our community. Recent developments have illuminated a pressing issue that demands our immediate attention—the escalating Oakmont Village Association (OVA) dues and the potential for costly assessments that could irreparably change the fabric of our neighborhood. According to a study published in the Oakmont Observer, OVA gross dues have surged by an astonishing 358.7% over the past two decades, starkly outpacing the 78.8% rise in California’s cost of living during the same period. This discrepancy signals a tipping point that could jeopardize the ability of many Oakmont residents, particularly those on fixed incomes, to remain in their homes.
The essence of Oakmont has always been its community spirit, nurtured by residents who have dedicated their lives to serving others—educating our children, protecting our families, and providing essential services that keep us healthy and safe. Many of these individuals were on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires, risking their own well-being for the greater good of our community. They are the backbone of any community including Oakmont, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they are not priced out of their homes due to financial pressures beyond their control.
Yet, as we face ambitious proposals for expensive building projects aimed at transforming Oakmont into a “premier” community, we must question the implications of such visions for our neighbors and friends. The allure of a new aquatic swim center, a performing arts center and auditorium, a new parking structure, and expanded OVA offices may seem appealing. See here for full list. However, these projects come with significant financial burdens that could displace the very people who have built and sustained this community.
A Wall Street Journal investigation quoted an OVA board member suggesting that Oakmont’s future should cater to affluent newcomers, implying that those struggling financially should consider options like reverse mortgages. This perspective, while it may aim to elevate Oakmont’s status, overlooks the value of inclusivity and the strength derived from a diverse community fabric.
Time to Decide
As we approach the March elections, we are tasked with making a choice that will define Oakmont’s trajectory and future. Will we opt for a future that prioritizes costly amenities and potentially displaces long-standing, middle-income residents? Or will we choose leaders who value prudent financial management, the maintenance of our infrastructure, and the thoughtful upgrading of amenities based on the real needs and preferences of our community members?
The decision we make will resonate for years to come, impacting not just our lives but those of future generations who will call Oakmont home. It is a time for critical thinking and a reaffirmation of our core values as a community. Let us choose a path that honors the contributions of all residents, ensuring that Oakmont remains a vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive place for everyone. The future is now, and it is in our hands to shape it with wisdom, compassion, and a deep commitment to the common good.