Issue of forced green lawns, mandatory house colors makes one red |

Issue of forced green lawns, mandatory house colors makes one red

They seemed like a nice couple. I’ll give them that. After all, they were doing their best to improve life for future generations of Coloradans.

But as I watched their happy-go-lucky attitude and their granola-eating ways, all I could think of was, “My God, what a pair of pansies.” I found myself yelling at the television, “Stick it to the man. Stick it to the man.”

My daughter, Isabell, gets downright hysterical if I so much as squawk at the television set, so I’ve learned to control my temper when it comes to watching the nightly news, but sometimes my mouth just pops open, no matter how hard I grind my teeth.

This was definitely a teeth-crunching, jaw-wrenching news story.

The story was straightforward enough. A couple living in a Front Range city feel the need to be landscape smart. So they’re working to conserve one of our most precious resources – other than tourists. They’re xeriscaping their property by using local, drought-tolerant plants to save water.

These folks would like to xeriscape as much of their property as possible, but the developer and homeowners association have set up covenants that make residents sod at least 70 percent of their lawn.

The tree-hugging duo, however, have a plan. It seems the city in which they live has a law giving the city the power to override subdivision covenants if it is for the good of the community.

This gave the couple the ability to do as they pleased and they’re now on a full-scale xeriscaping binge much to the chaffing of the homeowners association. This, of course, lead to a pissing match between the developer, the homeowners association and the city.

The thing that made me yelp was that it jumped from an interview with a city representative to an interview with the developer and back again, and only on rare occasions did the homeowners appear like docile sheep.

“Stuff what these people think,” I shouted. “This is private property and none of their business what these folks do on their land. Next thing you know homeowner groups, associations and agencies will be in your house critiquing your circa 1970s bedroom set, and telling you it’s too retro.”

Yes, I do think neighborhood covenants have a place, but I feel that if everyone remains reasonable, then we’ll all get along.

Granted, I’d rather not see used toilet seats loitering on my neighbor’s lawn, but I honestly don’t care if the same guy paints his house forest green instead of the homeowners association-approved rain forest green.

This “nice” couple – obviously trying to do some good for their neighborhood as well as their state – should have been telling the city and developer to kiss their brand-scrubbed behinds.

I’ve always figured it this way – if a homeowners association or the government want me to maintain my private property in a certain way, want my house painted certain restrictive colors or want me to plant, maintain and mow a certain percentage of grass, they can pay me for my time and they can skip the taxes.

If it isn’t my property, then I plan to charge a fee for my services. Other than that, get off my land.

Columnist Andrew Gmerek and his surprising Libertarian streak appear on this page every Friday.

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