Letters: Plot for lot and how it could never happen in Eagle-Vail
September 6, 2017
Plot for lot
Luke bought two lots. He built his house on one and left the other vacant. Lester owns the cemetery across the street from Luke's lots. Lester saw Luke sitting on his front porch, approached, sat down and handed Luke a box of gourmet doughnuts. Lester told Luke that he had contracted to do a new landscaping project at the cemetery. Then Lester leaned forward and said "Luke, we need to talk business." Lester's manner surprised Luke but any hesitancy he had to converse vanished with his first bite of the tasty confection.
"I need a spot to temporarily stockpile dirt. Luke, if you permit me to pile the dirt on your vacant lot, I will give you a free burial plot. A kind of plot-for-lot joint arrangement," Lester said. Five doughnuts later, Luke and Lester shook hands.
Months passed, and the pile grew larger and larger. Lester's definition of temporary became disturbingly dubious. Concerns were being voiced to the county and to Louie, the community manager. Louie started feeling the heat from the pressure growing inside and outside the dirt pile. Other property owners were now questioning the property owners' association's "fair and equitable" enforcement of the covenants.
As often is the case, complaints can lead to revelations. So it came to pass that Louie revealed that nine months prior he had met with Luke and Lester. Louie told the board and the community that the meeting took place in November — Lester brought gourmet doughnuts — and that, yes, he had indeed OK'd their joint agreement.
So how did the great dirt pile tale end? Luke won a substantial judgment against the property owners' association for harassment after the property owners' association's attorney tried to place a lien on his burial plot. Incensed when the property owners' association demanded a new compliance deposit for the dirt pile removal, Lester fought back hard and won that battle, convincing the judge that Louie had, after all, accepted their joint agreement.
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Lester completed his landscaping project but, still furious with the property owners' association, reneged on a promise he made earlier to waive his landscape compliance deposit. The homeowners footed the bill to restore Luke's vacant lot back to its original state. Luke sold both of his lots and his burial plot to Lester and retired in Bora Bora. In mid-December, Louie received a very generous salary increase.
Nothing remotely like that could ever happen in Eagle-Vail.
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