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Aspen City Council discusses separate Burlingame HOAs

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

With construction under way this summer on the second phase of Burlingame Ranch, the Aspen City Council on Monday mulled a proposal that could lead to the creation of three separate homeowners associations at the affordable-housing development.

Under what was termed a “hybrid model” by R. Barry Crook, assistant city manager, Burlingame would be governed by a master homeowners association with three sub-associations. The first would consist of the 84 condo-unit owners who currently make up the development’s first phase. The second would consist of the condo-unit owners in the second phase, which could include 48 owners by the end of 2014 and as many as 82 by the end of 2015.

The third sub-association would include all owners of single-family homes from Phases I and II: seven in the first phase and possibly six in the second phase.

The idea, Crook said, is to give the separate neighborhoods the ability to self-govern. The issue of allowing dogs at Burlingame II recently has divided the two communities, even though no one lives at Burlingame II yet. But Crook said the rules could be set up so that dogs are still banned from the entire development while still creating the three sub-associations, although that scenario is not part of the city staff’s recommendation.

No decisions were made during Monday’s work session — nor could there have been. Burlingame I residents, the majority of whom have indicated they want to continue the ban on dogs, hold all the cards when it comes to deciding the issue of rewriting the master declaration that governs Burlingame. That issue, not specifically the dog ban, ate up most of the council’s discussion time during Monday’s work session.

Typically, a developer of property (in this case, the city) makes decisions about the governance of each phase of development as it occurs, Crook wrote in a memorandum to the council. But the city has no such authority at Burlingame. A mistake was made somewhere along the way.

“Instead, the previous lawyer who drafted the initial (declarations) took the step of subjecting all of the Burlingame development (including Phase II) to the Master Declaration from the outset of the project,” Crook’s memo said.

Council members and Mayor Steve Skadron suggested that more discussions need to occur with the residents of Burlingame I, many of whom have indicated recently that they would rather not separate the associations.

The previous City Council — the one in place before new members came on board in the past six weeks — expressed distaste for the current voting allocation in the Phase I master homeowners association. Seven single-family-home owners control 51 percent of the vote, and the 84 condo-unit owners control 49 percent of the vote. Even with more condo owners coming into the homeowners association from Phase II, the condo owners still would be in the minority.

Councilman Dwayne Romero, who was appointed to the seat Skadron vacated when he was elected mayor in June, expressed hope for compromise. He said there are benefits for the different factions by separating the associations and balancing power at the development.

But, Romero said, it’s more important for the city to establish trust with the Burlingame I residents, who not only are upset that the city tried to introduce dogs at Burlingame II but face expensive siding repairs for exterior damage said to have been caused by either a supplier or installer. A lawsuit is pending in that matter.


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