Neighbor dispute, lawsuit put kink in Hayden charity event plans
Steamboat Springs — A dispute between neighbors and an ensuing lawsuit has left the organizer of a charity event in Hayden scrambling for a new venue.
The Cog Ride is slated for Saturday and is a Lou Gehrig’s disease fundraiser. Wes Dearborn was planning on headquartering the ride, along with barbecue, beer and bands at his home on 40 acres just north of Hayden. After a court hearing Monday, Dearborn now is talking with officials from Routt County Fairgrounds and the town about having the event at a location like Dry Creek Park.
“I need to pull this off somewhere,” Dearborn said Tuesday.
Last month, Dearborn touted the ride and concerts as a big event not to be missed, but that is not what his neighbors wanted to hear, and they took Dearborn to small claims court.
“We bought these places with these protective covenants because we like peace and quiet,” neighbor Kathleen Allen said Tuesday.
Their homeowner’s association is composed of six properties along with rules that owners agree to when they buy a property. The rules cover everything from signage to nuisances.
“No lot shall be used in whole or in part for public gatherings, concerts or open prolific activities without the consent of all owners of lots within the property,” one of the rules states.
Allen said Dearborn never asked for permission.
“Consent was probably not forthcoming, but we didn’t even know there was an event planned,” Allen said.
During Monday’s hearing, Allen said she and three of the other property owners told Routt County Judge James Garrecht they were against the event being held in their neighborhood. She said the remaining property owner was out of state.
The lawsuit was brought forth by Allen and John Taylor, another neighbor. In the complaint, they contend the planned event was “offensive, annoying and inconvenient, because of, but not limited to, the following that will result from the event: noise, number of people, traffic, parking, lights, smells, unsightliness of camping, stage, toilet facilities and other things that will necessarily result from putting on such an event.”
Garrecht ruled in favor of the neighbors and said Dearborn could not hold the event at his property.
“Specifically the covenants provide for no public gatherings and no concerts,” the ruling states. “The covenants make no distinction between free or paid-for concerts, therefore both are prohibited.”
Allen said the whole situation was “tragic” and said Dearborn should have talked with the neighbors beforehand so he could find a suitable venue.
“We could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering,” Allen said.
Dearborn on Tuesday was working to line up a new event location and said information would be forthcoming. More information about the ride can be found at http://community.als.net/cogride.
Dearborn’s goal is to raise at least $25,000.
Originally, the 30-mile Hayden ride was going to start at noon at Dearborn’s property, and then head south for an out-and-back course.
Three bands are lined up, including the Johnny O Band, a blues act from Boulder. The other acts are Yer State Birds and The Brian Smith Band.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.