Prairie Vista Meadows is one of dozens of subdivisions scattered around the outskirts of Colorado Springs in eastern El Paso County.
It’s just 63 lots, carved out of former ranchland, where folks trying to get away from the city go and buy five-acre ranchettes.
Sometimes, they envision themselves as gentlemen farmers, with a horse or a cow or maybe another farm animal or two.
One of the big selling points is the spectacular views they enjoy of Pikes Peak and the Front Range from their vantage 10 miles or more from downtown Springs.
That’s the case at Prairie Vista Meadows where a couple homeowners are complaining about the homeowners association, covenants and architectural control committee governing life in the subdivision.
They are angry that the rules limit the number and types of farm animals to just two horses or cows.
Homeowner Chris Meier wanted a llama to guard his two cows from coyotes that roam the plains. And a goat would be nice. Or maybe some chickens. He wants his eight children involved in 4H programs and that might mean raising any variety of barnyard animals.
Neighbor Shannon Rogers wanted a third horse to go with her original two. And maybe a horse arena. And she wants to store a trailer behind a screen of Blue Spruce trees.
Both said they were misled by developer Craig McConnell to believe the HOA would be relaxed and willing to waive covenants and let them bend the rules.
McConnell sells real estate with his wife, Noreen, through Avalar Real Estate Solutions in Falcon.
McConnell said they misunderstood. He said the rules are the rules. Most of the 24 homeowners in Prairie Vista Meadows like the rules and want them enforced. He said five-acre lots are not big enough to allow many animals.
Here is a look at the subdivision from the El Paso County Assessor’s website:
McConnell said he’s trying to maintain the quality of the development by enforcing the covenants. He accuses Meier of wanting to take control of the HOA and rewrite the covenants to suit his lifestyle.
He says Meier has been out of compliance with covenants since he moved in last June for failing to paint his barn and for not screening his RV behind a fence or in a building, as rules require.
Meier counters that he likes the covenants and simply wants residents of the neighborhood to control the HOA, not a developer and his partners who don’t live in Prairie Vista Meadows.
The moral of the story is a classic: read everything before you buy and get all promises in writing.