The Woodmen Hills Metro District wants the El Paso County Commission to give it the authority to enforce covenants in filings 1-10 of the subdivision in unincorporated Falcon, northeast of Colorado Springs.
Only the 900 homes in filing 11 have a homeowners association enforcing covenants. The other 1,200 homes, in filings 1-10, have covenants attached to their homes but no active HOA to enforce them.
And that’s the way many seem to like it.
When the metro district began enforcing them in 2008, resident Chuck Warne led a group of residents who sued to stop.
In May 2009, a district judge slam-dunked the Metro District.
Then, in June 2010, the Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s decision.
Case closed, right? Ha!
The metro district is determined to get authority to resume policing violations of covenants — rules governing parking, landscaping, fences, trailers and such.
On Thursday, they tried to convince the El Paso County Commission to give it the authority as part of a new “service plan” it is seeking.
The proposed service plan also would allow the district to raise its maximum debt authorization to $53 million from its current $16.2 million cap. And it would give the district a maximum mill levy of 60 mills. I found it interesting the covenant issue generated the most controversy.
Among those testifying was Chuck Warne, who moved to Woodmen Hills in 2003 and sued in 2008 to stop the enforcement.
“You’ve got a very small group of people trying to impose their will on the majority of people,” Warne said. He said if residents want covenant enforcement, they can do it themselves.
“It’s up to the residents themselves if they want covenant enforcement,” he said. “They can create an HOA under their home rule powers. We don’t need the Metro District involved. They don’t listen to the people. They don’t care.”
Before Thursday’s hearing, Metro District manager Larry Bishop said many residents want covenants enforced and his board is responding to that demand.
“There’s a misunderstanding about whether the metro district is going to become a dictatorship and force covenant enforcement down peoples’ throats,” he said. “Voters will decide. It will be a simple ballot question: Shall covenants be enforced in this filing?”
I’ve spoken to folks in Woodmen Hills who would welcome the proposed vote in May 2012 and the enforcement of covenants.
They say there are too many RVs and trailers parked on the streets and other issues.
But it was enforcement horror stories that got the attention of commissioners Amy Lathen and Darryl Glenn last week.
“We’ve heard outrageous examples of abuse,” Lathen said, adding that she’s never gotten a request for enforcement from Woodmen Hills residents. “But I’ve heard many complaints.”
The commission delayed action until December. I’m guessing whatever the decision, the fight will go on.
Here’s a link to an independent Woodmen Hills Info website.
To read briefs filed in the appeal, click here.
Follow this link to the Court of Appeals decision upholding the judge’s decision.
The attorneys for the metro district wrote this letter explaining their position.