October 14, 2011

Woodside rezoning vote fails

Neighborhood watch vote passes; group to be formed for units 2, 3, and 4

Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Woodside Horses
Property owners in the Woodside Park subdivision did not cast enough "yes" votes on October 1 to support a rezoning that would have increased the number of horses allowed per lot.  Here, horses of Donna Clark, a proponent of the rezoning, cavort on her Woodside property (Courtesy photo)

An internal subdivision referendum on rezoning of the Woodside Park subdivision units two and four in Park County from residential to mountain residential failed, and the referendum to form a neighborhood watch group for Woodside units two, three and four passed in an Oct. 1 vote of property owners in those units. Woodside is near Pine Junction.

A key factor in the rezoning issue was the number of horses allowed on a lot less than 10 acres.

Bob Banks, the president of the homeowners association board, said the rezoning referendum failed even though 76 percent of the voters voted yes. That's because the HOA covenants require that more than half of all of the property owners (as opposed to voters) approve the change.

According to Banks, the rezoning referendum needed 97 "yes" votes out of the 193 total votes possible from property owners. It received 87 "yes" votes and 27 "no" votes.

Even with the 3-1 ratio for yes votes, the referendum failed.

The referendum to create a neighborhood watch organization, which had a 9-1 ratio of "yes" votes to "no" votes, barely passed. It needed 131 "yes" votes to pass, and it received 132, versus 14 "no" votes.

"I'd rather have a majority speak, and if they don't speak, we don't have a majority," said Banks after the announcement of the election results.

There are roughly 180 homes in units two and four and roughly 45 in unit 3, which is in Jefferson County, where four horses are allowed on a lot. Woodside also has unit one, which has its own HOA, and units five and six, which have their own HOA.

Banks said one vote was granted for each parcel.

He said the HOA board would take the neighborhood watch decision to the HOA board meeting that will be held sometime this fall or winter.

As for the rezoning issue, Banks said he's not sure if it is going to be brought up again, but it was possible.

The rezoning resolution on the ballot was brought before the property owners because of a change to residential- zoned lots in Park County that reduced the number of horses property owners could have from four to two.

The change was made in 2008 and only noticed by Woodside leadership in 2010.

That change sparked outrage among some property owners in Woodside, a development created in 1967 as a community friendly to horses.

When some residents complained to the Park County commissioners, the idea of rezoning units two and four to mountain residential was first mentioned.

Park County Director of Planing and Zoning Tom Eisenman said the rezoning that was proposed by the subdivision made sense for the subdivision.

He said that Woodside properties were collateral damage to the change in Park County's land-use regulations designed to prevent damage to properties from housing too many horses on lots with too few acres.

By and large, the Woodside lots are big enough to contain four horses without risk to erosion or other damage, he said. And, he said, the community was created to include outside water rights to provide for horses.

Eisenman said that having units two and four rezoned to mountain residential would be easier than rezoning individual lots, which could also be a possibility.

Donna Clark, who has lived in the Woodside subdivision for 15 years, said horse owners are upset about the results of the vote, and they are calling for another vote.

"It's not a dead issue at all with the homeowners here at Woodside," she said.

She said many residents were planning to bring the issue to the next HOA board meeting. If they get another vote, they will campaign door to door to see that it passes.

"I don't think our neighbors realize how valuable our land could be if it's mountain residential," she said.

And Clark, who is trying to sell her home, is very aware of home values.

"When we went to the commissioners, the one thing I pointed out, that because they changed how we could have the animals, they have diminished the sale of my home and the price of my home," she said.

Clark said she's not angered by the change made by the county, but that doesn't mean she won't work to fix it.

"I can't put the blame anywhere, but I say that we can make it right," she said.

MyWoodside Home Page