Eviction would reflect poorly on community
August 3, 2006
We can’t imagine that anyone in the valley was happy to read the news in Wednesday’s Aspen Times about the likely eviction of Lada Vrany from the ranch where he’s lived for 48 years. We were saddened by the story, and we hope the situation won’t actually devolve into an eviction.Vrany is a venerable upper-valley resident, not to mention an 87-year-old man in deteriorating health, and it would reflect poorly on the entire community if Pitkin County ends up kicking him off the airport ranch property. Of course, county officials don’t seem to want Vrany off the property; in fact, they’re practically bending over backwards to accommodate him.This sad situation seems at least partially attributable to Vrany’s stubbornness. We hope he’ll come around and acknowledge the favorable deal he’s been offered.No, the deal isn’t a return to the ranching life that Vrany knew for many years. No, it doesn’t restore all the income he would have reaped from the property were he is still producing hay and cattle, and renting out pastures and buildings.But for an 87-year-old man who hasn’t exactly been a painstaking caretaker of the county property – the county recently evicted several of Vrany’s tenants because of unsanitary conditions and failing septic systems – the county’s most recent offer certainly deserves a careful look.First, the county has offered to let Vrany remain on the property, rent-free. That’s right – no charge. Second, county officials have offered to pay Vrany a “monthly property management fee” that has yet to be negotiated. All he must do is keep the property in good repair and report any suspicious activities.Vrany has refused to sign the proposed agreement without first negotiating the fee. He feels the county owes him $5,000 or $6,000 per month, an absurd amount given the county’s generosity on the rent.Vrany has a chance at a caretaking deal that most working-class Pitkin County residents can only dream of. Still, for reasons that seem clouded by resentment and bad blood, he’s holding out for a better deal.Nobody wins, especially Vrany, if this matter leads to eviction. We hope he can take a deep breath, agree on a reasonable property management fee and live out his days in peace.