SIDE STREETS: HOA's $50 parking fine now adds up to thousands for homeowner

BILL VOGRIN Updated: December 20, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 20, 2012

In 2009, I introduced Side Streets readers to Ron Pace under a headline: “Pace is loose!”

In the column, I reported that a judge had described him as loud, profane and even annoying.

But the judge had sided with Pace in his battle over neighborhood covenants and assorted other issues with the Woodmen Hills Metro District, which has been a mess for years with its seemingly constant bickering, infighting, recalls and failed efforts to expand powers and fees.

At the time, Pace declared he was sick of the fighting. The disabled vet vowed to sell his house on the sixth fairway of the Antlers Creek Golf Course in Falcon, northeast of Colorado Springs, and move.

I figured it would be the end of the story.

As usual, I was wrong.

Pace, 48, never did sell.

Instead, he stayed and remained a vocal critic of Woodmen Hills officials. He fought them over the way they enforce rules, conduct district business and more.

He probably should have moved. If so, he’d have saved thousands.

Pace and his wife are facing about $5,000 in legal fees after he lost a fight over a restraining order filed against him in 2011 by a homeowners association manager who felt threatened by him

But that’s only the half of it. Pace and his wife again are preparing to go to court in February over a $50 parking violation issued by the Filing 11 HOA that has ballooned to $4,600.

“My truck was parked on the side of my house like I’ve parked it since 2006,” Pace said. “They said it was eight to 18 inches past the front corner of our house and that’s not allowed.”

Seems outrageous to think any HOA would fine someone over such a petty infractionOn Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, I heard from a Woodmen Hills Filing 11 HOA official who explained how a $50 penalty had ballooned to about $4,600.

Chris Galloway, vice president of the HOA, said the property manager noted the parking violation during a semi-monthly enforcement survey of the neighborhood.

Galloway said Pace was not singled out and easily could have remedied the violation without any fine.

"The first time we send a courtesy letter saying please take care of this," Galloway said. "Then we send a warning letter. Finally, we send a third letter which is a fine ranging from $25 to $50."

So how did it balloon to $4,600?

Galloway said Pace declined to deal with the HOA management company after his restraining order. Instead, he called the HOA's attorney directly.

"They warned him he’d incur attorneys fees personally," Galloway said. "He circumvented the system."

Of course, Pace sees it as a vendatta and, when we spoke in December, he declared: “This is retaliation.” Typically, he barked it, punctuated with profanity.

It’s this type of gruffness that has made some people who manage Woodmen Hills and serve on its board scared of Pace. They feel threatened by him. And he is prone to making veiled threats.

In his defense, some HOAs get out of control. Power-hungry board members sometimes punish people they don’t like and, as the judge in 2009 said, Pace isn’t always very likeable.

Once this latest mess is resolved, he has vowed again to leave.

“As soon as my kid graduates in the spring, I’m outta here,” he said. “I’ll be happy to leave.”

For everyone’s sake, I hope so.

Life is too short to spend it worried whether your truck is parked 18 inches too far from the house.

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