The Eldorado Community Improvement Association is suing seven Eldorado lot owners in an attempt to enforce a covenant that it says prohibits residents from keeping chickens.
Susan Billings, David Borton, Devra Borton, Greg Colello, Rose Winston, Matthew Kasper and Laurel Kasper are named as defendants in the complaint filed in state District Court on Wednesday by lawyer John P. Hays.
The covenant in question bans “animals, birds or poultry … except for recognized household pets.” Some say that’s ambiguous because chickens can be pets. The association has granted variances allowing some people to keep chickens.
In September, the Eldorado Community Improvement Association put the matter of whether to permit chickens to a vote of lot owners. Those opposed to allowing chickens in the subdivision got more votes — 999 — than those who favored them — 805 — but any change in the covenants must be approved by a majority of eligible lot owners (1,389 out of 2,777 ). So neither option was adopted.
In October, Eldorado resident Claudia Daigle gathered signatures on a petition to recall two members of the association’s board, Ed Moreno and Jan Deligans, claiming they were “spinning” the result of the election toward those in favor of recognizing chickens as pets.
Daigle fell short of the threshold of getting signatures from 15 percent of the members, or 418, for a recall election. But Deligans, who supports allowing chickens, resigned voluntarily. Moreno, who said he doesn’t care either way, continues to serve on the board.
Daigle, Deligans and Moreno were not available for comment Thursday. But Gershon Siegel, an Eldorado resident who keeps chickens, said the board decided to act after resident Richard Goldstein threatened to sue the board members individually unless they moved to ban chickens.
“He scared the living daylights out of them,” Siegel said. “So to take themselves out of the line of fire, they have allowed these citations to go forward.”
Goldstein, a retired lawyer from Florida, was not available for comment Thursday.
Siegel said he understands that he soon will be added to the defendants in the complaint because at a recent association meeting, he told the board, “If you want my chickens, then you’re going to have to pry my cold dead fingers off their scaly little legs.”
Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.