Eagle-Vail tries to tackle rental dispute | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail tries to tackle rental dispute

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” It is business as usual on the Eagle-Vail neighborhood board, but the controversy over whether or not to allow short-term rentals is still unresolved.

At a heated annual Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association meeting on March 5, a group of second-home owners asked board president Jeff Layman to resign after the board had tried to ban rentals shorter than four months.

Using “proxy votes,” the group’s leader, Patrick Carter, appointed himself board president and appointed several other people to open spots on the board.

However, attorneys for both sides have decided that the appointments made at the meeting were not valid according to state law, meaning that Layman and the original board are still presiding.

“Directly elected officials can be removed by the electors, but only at a meeting called for that purpose, and the meeting notice must state so,” said Mark Payne, the property owners association’s Denver-based attorney.

The group that ousted Layman had not announced their intentions before the annual meeting, and it was not on the meeting notice or agenda.

Current board members are Layman, Kim Williams, Mike Keiler and Tracy Walters. The vice-president position is still open after Paul Hields stepped down from the spot at the annual meeting.

Board members said they hope to make progress on the rental dispute and get more residents involved in neighborhood decisions.

The board has held off on banning short-term rentals and will instead form a committee to talk to residents and research the issue.

“We’re really going to look at what the membership wants us to do. We encourage people to come talk to us. We want to get beyond the animosity,” Layman said.

He wanted to continue serving on the board and help the community sort through the problem, he said.

“I understand my position may have offended some folks, and I’m sorry about that,” he said. “My job is to represent all the homeowners and resolve this in a way that everybody can have their say.”

Thanks to the controversy, more residents are now aware of how active the board is in the neighborhood, he said.

The bi-monthly board meetings are usually unattended, but at the last meeting, about 30 people came and several residents spoke.

The meeting was much less emotionally charged than the annual meeting, and the board seemed to be making headway, said resident Tsu Wolin-Brown.

“Now the board is at least listening and open to the idea that not everybody likes the idea (of short-term rentals),” she said.

While board politics may have settled down in Eagle-Vail, no consensus has been reached about whether or not short-term rentals should be allowed. Some argue that vacation rentals hurt the quality of the neighborhood, while others argue that they should be able to do what they want with their property.

Resident Bruce Meilke said he is personally against short-term rentals after a bad experience with some neighbors’ short-term rental house.

“I woke up to go to work at 4 a.m., and there were seven cars in my driveway that belonged to the house across the street,” he said.

The issue is a question of property rights, he said.

“From a legal standpoint, someone should be able to rent out their place so long as it doesn’t interfere with my, my neighbors’ and my community’s ability to enjoy our property as we see fit,” he said.

Wolin-Brown said that while she enjoys seeing families in the neighborhood, it is important to listen to the wants of the growing population of second-home owners, too.

“I’m big on property rights. If you want to rent out your place, that’s your right,” she said.

Resident Karl Krueger said he does not think the issue can be easily resolved.

“No matter how good of intentions the board has, it’s really not an issue people will give on. It’s going to raise it’s head again,” he said. “I may be wrong, but I think it’ll have to go to a judge or to a vote.”

But Layman said he hopes they can work through the “heartache” the issue has caused. “I think we can do it if we continue to remember that we’re all neighbors,” he said.

The next Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on April 21 at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion.

For more information see http://www.evpoa.com

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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