No Dogs in Aldasoro
by Russ Montgomery and Harvey Roisman
May 22, 2008 | 1237 views | 6 6 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
No Dogs in Aldasoro

Editor:

Since the Aldasoro dog issue has been taken into the public arena, I feel compelled to respond publicly. No dogs.

Each property owner purchasing within Aldasoro Ranch was aware that dogs were and are not allowed. In fact, many of us bought here for that very reason. While the advertisements in the newspaper attempt to appeal to the emotional attachment of nieces, nephews and grandchildren to their dogs, this is disingenuous at best. The pro-dog argument is all about real estate prices. It has nothing to do with quality of life. I have not heard from a single owner that they want to get a dog, but the pro-dog faction is wrongly spreading information that we need to vote yes in order for our property values to not be at a “disadvantage” with the surrounding properties. What a pile of dog-poockey.

The leader of the pro-dog committee of one, Mr. Mark Hacken, has lived up here for 10-plus years without a dog. In fact, I remember serving on the board of directors with him as we continued to uphold the no dog policy. Oddly, now that his house is on the market and the property has not sold at the current asking price he is pushing to allow dogs. He has gone so far as to propose a dog policy that would go along with a yes vote with no approval or consideration by the HOA board and has wrongly implied to the voters that his policy would be implemented if dogs are allowed in the subdivision.

In part, his policy would allow three dogs per lot (160 plus lots x 3 = 480 potential dogs), but they must be constantly restrained, they cannot bark and the owner must pick up all feces. If Mr. Hacken has been convinced by his realtor that an invisible, mute, poopless dog would help sell his lot for another million he should fire his realtor. And if the new dog policy is approved and he does sell his house, he does not have a vested interest in this community any more and leaves the rest of us to deal with the consequences.

Talk about plucking on emotional heartstrings, his policy states that after enough violations of the dog policy the animal will be removed from the subdivision. I can see it now, your neighbor’s dog barks and barks, you call in the violations and then watch the neighbor’s children crying as the dog is hauled off. Get ready for the Hatfields and McCoys.

Further, the pro-dog committee neglected to include any information with his mailer begging for a yes vote that this is just the beginning of a lengthy and costly process. The Division of Wildlife must first be convinced and then the county would need to agree to amend the PUD and possibly the Land Use Code. Good luck with that. I will now personally do my part to help convince both entities to uphold the no-dog policy.

As for the realtors that have been so liberally quoted – go away. There has not been a single quote from a realtor who is also an Aldasoro resident in favor of dogs. All the quotes have thus far been from realtors who do not live here and have no personal interest in Aldasoro other than commission.

The quality of life that we no-doggers bought into is the peace and quiet of a spacious subdivision which allows us to appreciate a spectacular sunset with elk, deer and other wildlife on the rolling landscape. I believe that this increases the value of our property as it is something that is not available anywhere else in the region. I enjoy the quiet of not hearing the yapping from the neighbor dogs and not having to deal with the irresponsible dog owners that invariably comes with dogs. The Aldasoro Ranch is consistently reaching and exceeding its budgeted goal of real estate transfer assessments based on sales. We are not dependent on dogs to sell.

Stay the course. No dogs.

– Russ Montgomery

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Editor:

While I didn’t want to air Aldasoro Ranch owners’ internal issues in a public forum, given all of the propaganda distributed by Mr. Hacken and his band of realtors, I felt it necessary to balance the coverage with a letter to the editor.

First, a bit of history. Mr. Hacken, the self-proclaimed chairman of the “Vote Yes on Dogs” Committee, has his house up for sale. Significantly, prior to putting his house on the market he was adamantly opposed to allowing dogs in Aldasoro – he, at that time, considered it a quality of life issue and, along with me, voted against allowing dogs on at least two separate occasions. Logically enough, now that he no longer lives there, it is strictly an economic issue. Mr. Hacken’s self-serving interests are all too transparent. In reading Mr. Hacken’s information packet, his inference is that the dramatic differences in real estate pricing – $2 million per acre in Mountain Village versus $276,000 per acre in Aldasoro – is due to the Dog Policy, not the ski-in ski-out feature, or the size differential of the lots, but the Dog Policy. Further, he quotes realtors’ statements to support his effort to change the dog policy; the very realtors whose advice he has ignored in making what improvements were deemed necessary to make his house more saleable.

Aside from pointing out the background of Mr. Hacken’s campaign, I would like to inform your readers of the flip side of the discussion: Every homeowner that has purchased land in Aldasoro has signed a contract acknowledging that there is, and always will be, a no-dog policy in Aldasoro. Some owners bought in Aldasoro in spite of that caveat, others because of it. The Land Use Code includes the subdivision as an elk migration area and therefore prohibits dogs.

The Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the subdivision was negotiated many years ago and it includes obligations that the Aldasoro owners are required to fulfill – for the most part these are cost related issues. It is my understanding that should the subdivision approach the county commissioners and open up the Dog Policy, any and all other contractual issues contained therein would likewise be open to renegotiation. In other words, the county commissioners would get a second bite at the apple to extract whatever concessions that they now, in hindsight, feel is due or could benefit the county. Opening up the dog issue might prove to be a very costly affair – the quid pro quo might be more than the Aldasoro owners bargained for. Be careful what you wish for…

It should be noted, that many of the subdivisions that allow dogs now have dog-related problems. Further, I have friends in Mountain Village with homes on the market of a comparable nature and price to Mr. Hacken, and for an even longer period of time, that have not sold – maybe, allowing dogs is not the silver bullet to selling homes that it is portrayed to be.

The fact that realtors feel that the impact of changing the Dog Policy will be large is questionable. Mr. DePagter is already backpedaling – he is quoted as saying, “Although [he] agrees that allowing dogs could have a positive impact on the real estate market, he cautioned by saying those effects will not occur instantly.” I find that to be a troubling statement in that the impression given by realtors was of this outpouring of pent-up demand – apparently, that is not to be.

If the decision is made to allow dogs, and we have similar problems to other subdivisions, there is no mechanism for putting the genie back in the bottle.

Ironically, all of the public discourse related to whether Aldasoro should or should not allow dogs is being conducted by people that don't live there – realtors, or owners that are looking to sell. We haven't yet heard from homeowners that will have to live with the new policy and will be responsible for paying for any changes to the current PUD.

It is disappointing that Mr. Hacken would distribute all of this literature and take ads in local papers without disclosing to his fellow homeowners that his true motive was to sell his home – so much for his grandson having the ability to visit grandpa with his little puppy motive. To vote “No” to having dogs when you live in Aldasoro and then become a fervent supporter of “Yes” to dogs when you are selling is not only disingenuous, but it is shameful that you are willing to sell out your neighbors for a mere bag of shells.

Respectfully submitted,

– Harvey Roisman
Comments
(6)
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deal with it
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July 13, 2008
dogs should never be allowed at aldasoro. wealthy trophy home owners arent used to being told what to do, but too bad. the elk are there still and always will be as long as this law is in place.
Harvey Roisman
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May 26, 2008
Tom,

Thanks for your response to the letters. As a Math minor, I all too well remember using Regression Analysis mentioned in your first letter as a powerful statistical tool - one that I agree is inappropriate in this situation.

Your first letter was great, but your second one was priceless!!

Tom Farrell
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May 26, 2008
Dear Linda,

Thanks for writing the following words:

"But my realtor assured me that the policy would most likly be overruled in the near future. It's now ten years later,the near future is here, and Iam ready to purchase another dog."

I will remember you always,

Best Regards

Tom

linda gershenson
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May 24, 2008
Nothing in this world ever stays the same. That's the law of nature. Policies work for awhile and then get changed according to the need of the majority they apply to. Isn't that what a democracy is? Isn't that why we have amendments to our constitution?

What worked 20 years ago for the Aldasoro develpment doesn't mean it is viable today. The "landscaping policy" was to plant several trees and use flowers and grass to enhance the appearance of out homes. That policy changed as soon as we ran short of water. The "dog policy"was set up because of the fragility of the elk herd which at the time numbered 200+ and the calf population was at risk. We now have a population of 2000+ and our Aspen groves are at risk.What new policy will develop from this situation?

When I purchased my property in Aldasoro I was informed of the "no dog policy". Since I had just lost my dog the policy wasn't an issue for me. But my realtor assured me that the policy would most likly be overruled in the near future. It's now ten years later,the near future is here, and Iam ready to purchase another dog.Iam very sorry that this policy is still on the books since the original reason for it no longer exist

Iam hoping that the majority of Aldasoro homeowners vote yes to the removal of this policy thereby giving each of us a choice to decide for ourselves whether we want a dog in our home or not.I know my neighbors. We are all responsible adults and will certainly beable to adhere to the new "policies" to help keep our dogs as model citizens.
Tom Farrell
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May 23, 2008
Having appraised San Miguel County real estate for over twenty years I am here to tell you that there is no real estate broker in the area capable of producing a legitimate analysis of property values which can isolate the value of the 'dog attribute'. The only statistical tool capable of such an analysis is called Regression Analysis (don't ask). The data necessary to complete a regression analysis sufficient to isolate the 'dog attribute' is not available in the region. There just is not enough data and the properties are all so individual in so many respects that isolating such an attribute is virtually impossible.

Do this: Every time a realtor oopens his mouth, just say the word "salesman" over and over in your mind. Never confuse the word "salesmen" with words like "analyst" or "impartial expert". If that doesn't work, call me in the morning.
Mark Hacken
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May 22, 2008