Harmony in the ‘hood | VailDaily.com

Harmony in the ‘hood

Kathy Filgo

Dogs barking, music blaring, yards overgrown there are a lot of things that can distract from our ability to peacefully enjoy our homes. However, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder (some of us think Mick Jagger is the hottest thing, others prefer Brad Pitt) we all have different ideas about what we desire of our surroundings.There is a broad array of diverse areas within Eagle County and the rules in each are equally broad. Some sub-divisions are very strict in the parameters set down by residents and/or elected homeowners boards. For instance, there may be narrow restrictions on the type of roof that homeowners are allowed to use on homes; or rules might stipulate that only natural stone trim can be used, cultured stone is not acceptable. Many areas do not allow on-street parking at any time. There are other areas that are less restrictive; raising chickens may not be taboo. Parking RVs or boats on your property could be allowed or you might see six dogs roaming the yard.This relates back to the Mick or Brad debate we all like different things. Some of us want a very controlled environment, something that dictates precisely what we can expect of our neighborhood. We want our neighborhood to look a predictable way and we want it to operate in a certain manner.Some of us want a homestead where there is no one telling us what to do. We want to be able to live on our own property doing exactly as we wish and we dont care if the neighbors do the same.Many of the regulations in neighborhoods dont come from the state or county. Deputy Degen of the Eagle County Sheriffs office says many of the rules within communities come from each individual municipality and sub-division. County, state or federal laws must be abided by but municipalities can chose to be more restrictive (but they can never be less restrictive). For instance the county leash law states that a dog must be under the control of the owner, not literally on a leash. However, a particular town might decide that all dogs will be required to be on a leash when in public areas.As a resident, knowing the regulations within your neighborhood is essential for peaceful co-existence as well as your own peace of mind. Deputy Degan relays an example of the importance of reading the covenants in your area before you move in: A new (and furious) homeowner called the sheriffs department after being ticketed for parking overnight on the street in front of his own home. The surprised homeowner was informed that he lived in a sub-division that does not allow on-street parking, something of which he was not aware. The sheriffs department receives may calls from residents unfamiliar with the specific regulations in their individual neighborhood, and that can create unpleasant situations that are preventable.How do we avoid such situations? Prior to purchasing or moving into a home you should be provided with a copy of your areas declarations and regulations (decs & regs) read them! People often dont know what they can or cant do. Thoroughly research the covenants and parking laws before you move in, says Deputy Degen. Duplexes are very common in Eagle County. Besides the covenants regulating the community as a whole, party-wall agreements with your common-wall neighbor should be scrutinized before buying. This agreement states how you, as one of the owners of this attached building, will work with each other in the maintenance of the property. Even if the community covenants do not so state, your party-wall agreement may state that the exterior paint must be congruent, or the agreement may state that owners cannot put a different style roof on their particular half. This is another agreement that has significant ramifications if it is not understood. For instance, if youve driven along I-70 through Idaho Springs you may have noticed that there are duplexes whose roofs are split down the middle by different color shingles or the siding on each half is two different colors not a problem if each owner expected this individual form of expression but it is a big problem if an identical exterior was merely taken for granted by one owner but not written in the party-wall agreement that each owner signs. This is not one of the good surprises in life.A good start to living harmoniously in your hood begins at the beginning know the regulations in the area of our choice and choose a neighborhood with standards that reflect neighbors of similar mind and values to you. You dont want to be surprised with Mick when youre expecting Brad. Vail, Colorado

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