Jasper Friends and Family,
There is currently an email ballot being circulated regarding proposed amendments to our community's covenants. As these updates are long overdue, I would like to commend the Jasper board for undertaking this important work. However, I believe that it is important to give all community members the opportunity to provide feedback and refine the proposed covenants.
Many of us are seeing the proposed changes for the first time, myself included, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to review them and provide public feedback for discussion and debate. While some discussions may be taking place through email, Facebook, and phone calls, I recognize that not all members of our community participate in these forums. Therefore, I am using this publicly available forum to propose some edits and changes that I have already discussed with Kelly Slater, the president of our community.
My utmost priority is to ensure that our covenants are updated in a manner that aligns with the spirit of our community while remaining consistent with Colorado state and Rio Grande County laws and ordinances. To that end, I suggest that the board and committee retract the yes/no vote and instead allow for public comment. Public comment is an essential component of any community rulemaking process, and I believe that it is crucial for all voices to be heard.
Thanks again to our association and committee for taking up this hard but important work!
More: RV and Septic Disposal
(j) Recreational Vehicle Wastes. Recreational Vehicle holding tanks or other waste shall not be dumped or disposed of within the Development, <strike>except at such dumping station or other disposal facility as may be installed by the Declarant. </strike>
Dumping an RV in to a permitted septic system absolutely should be allowed. The text that was removed should be replaced with something like this:
(j) Recreational Vehicle Wastes. Recreational Vehicle holding tanks shall be dumped or disposed of only at permitted septic systems within the Development, Other waste and garbage should be held within animal-proof containers until proper disposal at county or community designated dump sites.
Next up, Solar Panels!
I received calls from multiple property owners asking what's up with the potential limits being placed on solar panel arrays. I haven't flagged that on my edits because it fits squarely within the intent of the Jasper POA covenants, which is stated: "These Covenants and Restrictions are made for the purpose of creating and keeping the Development desirable, attractive, beneficial, free from nuisances, and suitable in architectural design, materials, and appearance, and for the purpose of avoiding unnecessary interference with the natural beauty of the Development, all for the mutual benefit and protection of the Owners of all Lots on the Development."
The initial reaction is that in Jasper, solar is more of a required utility rather than a "unnecessary interference" which will no doubt obstruct someones precious view of the trees. I don't disagree with this perspective and it does open up a space where undesirable solar panel locations could be for imposed based on one persons interpretation of a specification that doesn't exist.
I would love to hear some debate on this topic. One solution could be to add additional language to the restriction that stipulates exactly what the restrictions could be. For example, specification of a maximum height would seem reasonable and specific. If the Architectural Committee can reject a panel array based on location, guidance of those expectations should be specified.
Don's excellent comment about the slash piles really does merit some discussion about what the community is asking members to do about slash and the implications of burning in the middle a forest. Speaking for myself only, the risk of fire is something that weighs heavily on me as a Jasper property owner. It's the #1 reason that insurance is difficult to obtain and expensive and also notable for complete communities being wiped off the map. Lacking a fire service, city water, coupled with being dry and remote and unpredictable weather, it can be a recipe for fire disaster. That said, fires can be done safely but I personally have no interest in the risk and potential liability, given the high number of things that can go wrong. When we say "easy enough to safely burn" in Jasper, it's actually not that easy, depends a lot on the weather (which changes quickly) and requires permits and good luck. Here is the USFS page:
Example, they suggest that piles need to be dry for a year before burning, proper weather, staffing, moisture and a burn plan, then permits are required, etc. Nothing about that is simple and lacking those measures, can create a significant fire risk to our community. Does this seem like a procedure that we expect ourselves and neighbors to perform in safe manner?
Sure, there are safe times, places and ways to burn but expecting the average Jasper weekend warrior (myself included) to do this is probably not ideal. Burning should be allowed but not mandated or encouraged by covenants. As such, small slash piles (what size?) should be acceptable at any given time. Finally, the POA could organize an annual wood chipping event which offers a viable alternative to fire for those of us who are uncomfortable with the risk and responsibility.
Any other thoughts or perspective would be great to hear.
Justin, yes great points about the dB(A) needing a measurement point of reference. I picked those numbers from typical city standards and added 5 dB(A), which is quite a bit. In those examples, they are measured from the property line rather than the exhaust port or other distance which would require trespass to measure. By adding "as measured from the nearest property line" would solve the issue. Not sure what really is a good sound level in Jasper but could be easily tested, albeit subjectively
Don, you're right, I did make up 3' x 3' x 3' as a starting place for the discussion and wasn't aware of 6' x 6' x 6' being suggested by USFS. As for controlling burns in a place like Jasper, not a chance in heck I personally would be doing any of that, but that's me. Another option would be asking the board to consider having the POA coordinate an annual chipping program. We do this in Summit County and it's very successful.
I think David Slater has coordinated something like this in the past and worked great from what I've seen. If we can make it easy for folks to manage slash by providing convenient alternatives to burning, that reduces the risk.
I've taken some notes and would like to share with everyone here for review. These will be sent by email to Mindy for review by the committee. Feel free to share your notes, thought and comments here too. Thanks again, everyone for working hard to keep this community such an excellent place for all of us.
Regarding page 3, paragraph 1:
Analysis and opinion:
This is a good simplification and can be improved by specifically deferring to the Rio Grande County Land Development Code. This helps maintain consistency and enforceability with the county.
“Lot” shall mean any Camping Lot, Commercial Lot, Commercial Recreation District Lot, or Residential District Lot designated by the Declarant in the manner provided therein, which may be a single or a grouping of lots, as shown on the plat of the Town of Cornwall.
"Lot" shall refer to any Camping Lot, Commercial Business Lot, Commercial Resort / Tourism Lot, Camping Lot, or Residential District Lot. This designation may include individual lots or a combination of lots, as depicted on the Town of Cornwall's plat. Definitions for the respective zoning codes can be found within the Rio Grande County Land Development Code.
Regarding page 4, section 4, sub-section a:
Analysis and opinion:
Unlike urban environments, Jasper has unique challenges with maintaining an expected standard of living, basic needs such as water, sewer, garbage and security. As an example, the completely unregulated nature of our “ghost cabin” has created an incredible amount of problems for the adjacent property owners including theft, noise, un-managed animals and human waste including excrement. The entire corridor of properties along Road 250 are designated CRT (commercial resort tourism) which expressly allows for tourism related accommodations and are ideal to allow for the reasons stated above. A reasonable compromise for residential district (R) doing short-term rentals is a requirement for neighbor approval in addition to the county's license process.
(a) Each Residential District Lot shall be used only for a permanent single-family residential dwelling with its accessory buildings, and in accordance with the Water Augmentation Plan. Each single residential dwelling may be rented for no less than 30 consecutive days by the same individual or group.
(a) Each Residential District Lot shall be utilized exclusively for a permanent single-family residential dwelling, along with its accessory structures, in compliance with the Water Augmentation Plan. The definition of residential land use can be found in the Rio Grande County Land Development Code. For short-term rentals (30 days or less), permits from Rio Grande County and unanimous agreement from all adjacent property owners are necessary to obtain POA approval of the required permit.
Regarding page 10, section 13, sub-section a:
Analysis and opinion:
Safety is important to everyone and pet control can be an important aspect. Enforcement is outside of the scope of the Jasper property owner association and thus should be deferred to Rio Grande County.
(a) Animals. No animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on any Lot, except that dogs, cats, or other household pets, not to exceed a total of three (3), may be kept provided that they do not become a nuisance and are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purposes. Each Owner shall have the responsibility for keeping their pets quiet and confined to the Owner’s lot. If the owner chooses to take their pet off of their property, the pet must be leashed and controlled at all times.
(a) Animals. No animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on any Lot, except that dogs, cats, or other household pets, not to exceed a total of three (3), may be kept provided that they do not become a nuisance and are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purposes. Each Owner shall have the responsibility for keeping their pets quiet and confined to the Owner’s lot. If the owner chooses to take their pet off of their property, the pet must be kept under control at all times. Pet ordinance is a civil issue to be enforced by Rio Grande County and governed by the Rio Grande County Animal Control Ordinances.
Regarding page 10, section 13, sub-section d:
Analysis and opinion:
The term "excessive" is subjective and not defined. What exactly is acceptable? It should be reasonable to have some small slash piles that can be managed without being a fire hazard.
(d) Maintenance of Lots. All Lots shall be maintained and kept in a clean and orderly condition and all firewood shall be kept neatly and stacked. Any excessive slash piles, construction waste, debris, or any other material that may cause a potential fire hazard is prohibited.
(d) Maintenance of Lots. All Lots shall be maintained and kept in a clean and orderly condition and all firewood shall be kept neatly and stacked. Any slash piles in excesses of 3’ x 3’ x 3’ , construction waste, debris, or any other material that may cause a potential fire hazard is prohibited.
Regarding page 11, section 13, sub-section g:
Analysis and opinion:
Fire is a significant concern in our community but lacks local enforceability. The POA should clear state guidelines that are consistent with the county and forest service, then reinforce that individuals can be held responsible for negligent fire behaviors.
(g) Fires. Subject to any requirements of Rio Grande County, any outdoor fire shall be made only in a facility or receptacle having a properly operating spark screen. All fireplaces, whether inside a building or outdoors, shall have an operational spark screen covering the top of the chimney. Any conditions which create a fire hazard shall not be permitted on any Lot including the burning of slash and debris piles. A fire extinguisher must be present at all fires.
(g) Fires. Subject to any requirements of Rio Grande County, any outdoor fire shall be made only in a facility or receptacle having a properly operating spark screen. All fireplaces, whether inside a building or outdoors, shall have an operational spark screen covering the top of the chimney. Any conditions which create a fire hazard shall not be permitted on any Lot. Fire conditions and restrictions are established by Rio Grande National Forest and Rio Grande County. A fire extinguisher must be present at all fires. Section 13-21-105 of the Colorado Revised Statues provides that persons can be held responsible for damages of reckless or negligent fires.
Regarding page 11, section 13, sub-section I:
Analysis and opinion:
The term “excessively” is subjective and needs to be defined. I use 60 dB(A) and 65 dB(A) as reasonable examples. Note that dB(A) sound level meters are readily available and that dB(A) noise levels are published by most generator manufacturers.
(i) Noise. Excessively noisy vehicles or excessively loud generators of any kind, all-terrain vehicles, trail bikes, snowmobiles, or motorcycles without adequate mufflers shall not be operated anywhere within the Development. Chainsaws shall not be used without a proper spark arrester and chainsaws or other noisy equipment shall not be operated before 8:00 A.M. or after 5:00 10:00 P.M.
(i) Noise. Vehicles, generators, all-terrain vehicles, trail bikes, snowmobiles, or motorcycles in excess of 60 dB(A) shall not be operated anywhere within the Development. Chainsaws shall not be used without a proper spark arrester and chainsaws or other noisy equipment, up to 65 dB(A) shall not be operated before 8:00 A.M. or after 10:00 P.M.
Regarding page 13, section 16, sub-section c:
Analysis and opinion:
The intent is understood to protect future owners against capricious spending and passing the cost burden down to the property owners. This is pretty close but could be refined to achieve that result without constraining the board in genuine cases of emergency.
(c) Any Special Assessment may be imposed by the Board of Directors upon Owners for the maintenance and repair of any common area or road. This special assessment may not exceed two times the annual assessment in any one calendar year.
(c) Any Special Assessment may be imposed by the Board of Directors upon Owners for emergency or planned maintenance such as repair of any common area or road. Any special assessment that exceeds two times the annual assessment in any one calendar year will require a majority approval of all duly notified owners.
(f) To designate a uniform type of fence. All fences must be a wooden log buck rail or “Z” style fence no higher than 3 feet and must lie within your property line.
Larry W comment: Fences sufficient for security and containment of pets have always been disallowed by the covenants. The Z and buckrail styles are being proposed as a compromise that satisfies a need to denote property boundaries, limit trespass and maintain a simple aesthetic that is consistent with historic Jasper construction.
(g) To regulate, limit, or prohibit the use, size, design, and color of any signs, including “for sale” signs. Signs are regulated by Rio Grande County.
Larry W comment: This strikes old language that was beneficial to the original developers and no longer useful. The new language makes it consistent and enforceable with Rio Grande County rather than a burden to the local community and the Jasper POA. The Rio Grande County codes do not prohibit for sale signs so this seems reasonable.