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SIDE STREETS: Cascade wall furor ends; Crystal Park votes to recall HOA board

By: BILL VOGRIN
July 14, 2010
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Vacation is over, time to catch up on some recent Side Streets topics: the Great Wall of Cascade Avenue; a Homeowners Association Ombudsman office; and the Crystal Park HOA recall effort.

 First the wall. Longtime readers know the story: Old North End residents Holger and Sally Christiansen built a beautiful wall of Virginia red brick around their Cascade Avenue home.

 Only problem . . . it violated city codes for height, encroached on city property and did not have necessary approval from the Historic Preservation Board.

 Three years of turmoil, including a lawsuit authorized by the City Council and a three-day trial, led a judge to order the wall lowered it, red brick by red brick, to 6 feet maximum.

 The couple had crews cut the wall down to size. But first they asked the city for one favor.

 “They requested administrative relief, and it was granted, for the pilasters,” said Erin McCauley, a city planner overseeing the project.

 Translated, the city allowed the wall’s decorative columns to exceed the maximum by about a foot. (Check my blog for photos.)

 “We were concerned about the mass of the entire structure,” McCauley said.

 Loyal readers also may recall efforts in the Colorado General Assembly to create a new state agency to police homeowners associations.

 The efforts, led by Aurora Democrats Rep. Su Ryden and Sen. Morgan Carroll, succeeded and House Bill 1278 was signed into law.

 It will not, as originally proposed, create an HOA ombudsman with power to investigate allegations of abuse by HOA boards as well as to mediate disputes.

 Instead, it will create the HOA Information and Resource Center, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Each HOA must register with the state office, which will gather data on HOAs and track complaints filed by the estimated 1.6 million Coloradans living in associations.

 The center will serve as a clearinghouse for HOA board members and residents, providing basic information about the rights and responsibilities of property owners related to neighborhood covenants — rules governing everything from paint colors to landscaping and parking.

 The sponsors said the bill was a response to growing complaints from people living in covenant-controlled communities — neighborhoods, condos, townhomes and time-share complexes. Voluntary HOAs aren’t affected by the law.

 Kind of like the HOA feud in Crystal Park, the 2,000-acre development above Manitou Springs. It’s 360 members are engaged in a war for control of the HOA. On Monday, 184 members voted to recall six board members.

 The board, however, declared the meeting illegal and the vote null and void.

 HOA president Sharon Rozwick declined comment.

 Don’t change channels. I’m guessing the next episode is a courtroom drama.

 —

 Read my blog updates at
 gazette.com/blogs/sidestreets

 

 

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