The risk of owning a home in Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

The risk of owning a home in Snowmass

Roger Marolt

Dear Snowmass Homeowners Association Inc.,I wanted to take a few moments to thank you for sending out your reminder that we all have to do our part to keep the town of Snowmass Village in conformity with the standards of refined good taste. Messy vitality be damned!Your message was unambiguous as to the emerging crisis that threatens our city. “Unsightly property is in violation of our Covenants besides weeds – this includes clutter!!” are truly words we should be living by. Never mind that the syntax and sentence structure are a little sloppy. C’est la vie! At least your yard is in ship shape! I’m delighted that you had the foresight to send along pictures of some homes that are currently in violation of The Covenants. I’m sure that without this visual evidence many would accuse you of exaggeration and, although we live in this filth everyday, few would comprehend the extent of this urban plague. The raindrops on the windshield of the vehicle from which the pictures were taken are a good reminder to all of us that a dreary day can be a godsend that keeps us off the golf courses, tennis courts, trails, and out of the swimming pools so that we can give our full attention to the proper managing of our neighbors’ lives. One of the pictures clearly shows two rolled-up newspapers, still in the bright orange waterproof bags, one definitely large enough to be the Sunday Post, lying defiantly in one homeowner’s driveway. Can you imagine the nerve of somebody leaving for the weekend and not having the courtesy to hire a neighborhood kid to bring these things in each morning? It’s appalling that a newspaper should sit there for more than a few hours. In respect of my neighbors, I personally go out at 5:45 every morning to be there when our paper is delivered. It’s usually there within 20 minutes. Many times I catch it before it hits the ground, much to the deliveryman’s delight. Nobody said that being tidy can’t be fun. Another picture shows what looks to me to be a 1989 Chevy Suburban parked in the driveway. While the Covenants do not clearly state it, I think it is implied that cars more than 15 years old are not permitted in Snowmass Village. Automobiles of this age rarely keep their original sheen. The car in the picture has certainly faded. I’ll admit that I don’t see any rust, but I would be surprised if a physical inspection of the property didn’t reveal at least some corrosion. I personally feel that old cars are both debris and clutter!You were clever enough to get a clear shot of a “welcome” sign with the name of one offending family engraved on it; a camper parked in their driveway. I hope you subtly encourage all members of our community to snub these scofflaws. Public ridicule and shame really do work.I particularly appreciate the photo of the unedged walkway leading to a neighbor’s front door. Can you imagine? I only hope you will research to find out which lawn service does their work. That outfit’s name ought to be published, and they should be summarily banned from ever doing work in our city again. Do you think we can get a committee together to explore this possibility? Perhaps this will give us something to talk about at the annual meeting. I must say that your letter was so inspirational that it spurred me to investigate my own neighborhood. Of the 37 homes here, I cited multiple violations in 36 of them! I’m not kidding! I saw everything from motorcycle trailers to red plastic swing sets to distasteful flowerpot arrangements. I even noted a sandbox with toys left in it overnight! I took plenty of pictures and am currently in the process of creating a website where I will post them!You’ll be excited to know that I may have even come up with a new violation! Some people try to get around the rules by having dual-purpose cars; you know, pickups that they use for work and for just driving around. I’ve heard that some of these pickup owners use them for camping, too! Does this then constitute a “camper”? I think that we can at least make the argument. If so, I would like you to check the rules to see if these vehicles can be impounded and/or booted.My filthy, rotten neighbors are ruining this place. I invite you to come down and see the mess I have to put up with every day of my existence. Please park in my driveway and, as soon as we are sure everyone has arrived, I will set up the temporary screening around your cars, as any good citizen should. It’s best if you come down after five o’clock. That’s when the workers bring all of their crap home and it really gets ugly!I don’t know how you managed to do it, but I for one am certainly glad that many years ago you had the presence of mind to set up the homeowners association to cover every last piece of property in the entire metropolitan area. How many municipalities can boast of that? You have turned our association into a de facto legislative body without any of the bothersome worries about due process. Nice work! We now have the unique opportunity to use this power to create a standardized, uniform and pure uber-city that we can all boast about!You should know that many of the lawbreaking slobs around here are whispering “live free or die” behind your backs. I say that they should be thankful to have that choice! Let them be free in some other hick town that doesn’t have a reputation to uphold.In closing, please check your records to see if my neighbor got the proper approval to do the painting on his roof. While there may not be a rule specifically against depicting a giant fist with an extended middle finger from the top of your house, I think that the bold colors she is using might be in violation of The Covenants. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble investigating this one. By my reckoning it’s facing right toward your office. Please let me know what you think.Sincerely,Roger MaroltRoger Marolt thinks that one homeowners association for an entire town is a bit too much. Have your proxy send your comments to his proxy at roger@maroltllp.com

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