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Local Property Owner vs. Absentee Property Owner Issue

There is growing concerns about long-standing contentiousness with some local property owners who feel their interests are far more important and should carry more weight than the interests of other owners who do not live in the Baca, only live here part-time, or just own vacant land.   In essence these local property owners make up a "special interest group" that lobby heavily to persuade people here to do what they want them to do.  In almost every case the information they tell others is inaccurate, distorted, partial and heavily biased . . . . pretty much like what most special interest groups do.

These local owners feel they represent the Baca “community,” that they have more at stake and more of a commitment which should result in their votes carrying more weight than the votes of the rest of the POA property owners.  This would disenfranchise absentee members and deprive them of equal input about what goes on here. 

To give you a sense of what has been going on locally, on March 13, 2014 these members submitted a letter signed by about 90 property owners that included a list of “requests” to your new Board.  This letter is attached to the Board meeting minutes of 3-27-2014 and is available on the POA web site.  One section of this letter sums this issue up as follows:

          “The community perceives three levels of community investment, with the highest level being residence owners who also live here, secondly residence owners who rent to community members and thirdly, those who own undeveloped land. This is also validated by the state property tax valuation. Members who own homes and live here are most likely to be impacted the most heavily by wildfire and other natural and man-made disasters.

           The POA Property Owners who are more significantly committed to the community by full-time residence should be given greater consideration when there is physical risk to their homes and personal safety.

          Members request: The POA Board of Directors to form, support and empower a task-force of residential property owners to fully investigate a variable dues structure that will recognize varying levels of community investment.   Long-term planning should include a governing documents change to give weighted voting to local homeowners.”

 The Baca POA is an unusual type of homeowner association.   Most HOAs have the majority of members living in the development, so member participation in the affairs of the association is more easily accomplished.  As you know, it’s the exact opposite in our POA with the majority of members living outside of the Baca.

This situation creates problems when it comes to making any major changes to how the POA operates because it requires a simple or super majority of members to vote for changes.   

After reviewing past POA newsletters, it is clear that previous boards have routinely cut corners around these voting requirements in order to get what they wanted accomplished.  In other words, they didn’t meet the voting requirements they needed so they just said they did and proceeded to make the changes they wanted.     

We don't believe anything justifies violating our governing documents or state laws.  All property owners should be treated as fairly as possible and absentee owners’ concerns should be given equal weight to local members’ needs and concerns.  After all, this is the Baca Grande “Property Owners Association,” not the Baca Grande “Resident Owner Only Association.”

This local vs. absentee owner problem can be easily resolved if all members simply participate in your elections to make ALL your voices heard!  And stop electing people to the Board that show more allegiance to the interests of these local special interest groups at the expense of the other property owners and the Baca POA as a whole.

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P.O. Box 155
Crestone CO 81131

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