Loveland - September 18, 2010
We received an email regarding our Mirasol Madness story correcting some
information in the story while providing additional data. Below is the complete email
by Carol Terrell, a former tenant of Marisol.
Thank you for bringing these matters that are causing distress for several of the residents at Mirasol and should
be of concern to the City Council and taxpayers of Loveland since the community could become a blight if the
facility and grounds continue to be maintained as they are now. Mrs. Jacobs has tried to be as amicable and
friendly as possible to HACOL and Mirasol management but has been met by threatening and intimidating
responses including their suggesting she move. All that she expects is for the fulfillment of the commitments
they have made to ALL the residents not just herself. The taxpayers of Loveland should be concerned since
Mirasol was given a grant from the taxpayers and the property also is not assessed for property taxes. We
estimate that Mirasol’s gross income from rents and fees exceeds $770,000 per year yet they repeatedly state
they do not have the money to fulfill their commitments.
The standard response from all management staff to questions regarding the degrading services has been “we
are doing the best we can”. I consider that to be an excuse not an explanation or solution and also shows a total
lack of interest in responding to the problems. The other standard answers include “we would have to raise
your dues” and the quote from Sam Betters, “maintenance free does not mean free maintenance”. Considering
the amount the residents are paying in community fees each month ($113 or $131 or $151 or $297) they are
not receiving FREE Maintenance. Mr. Betters cannot seem to resist any opportunity to insult or intimidate an
The amount of the rents has been misstated in your article (LovelandPolitics article) and is corrected as follows
per the latest brochure that Mirasol is now distributing to new prospects. One of my concerns is if the section 8
residents are being charged a fee that is not allowed by HUD and are the residents that qualify for affordable
housing paying more than allowed. If the amount for the paired homes is compared to the current market they
are definitely overpriced. Perhaps HUD should investigate the amount they are being charged.
The rent is based on the HUD 2010 Income Limits Documentation System for the 49 apartments that make up
a part of the complex. Currently the published rent (an announcement to the residents and the Planning
Commission has been made that the rent will increase 3% starting in October 2010) for a one bedroom 680 sq
ft apartment for one person is based on the HUD Average Monthly Income (AMI) percentage and is as follows:
30% AMI $1312.50 to $1500 is $405 + $113 community fee
40% AMI $1750 to $2000 is $540 + $113 community fee
50% AMI $2187.50 to $2500 is $675 + $113 community fee
60% AMI $2625 to $3000 is $800 + $113 community fee
The rental amount includes water, trash collection, sewer, gas and electric. The community fee pays for their
privilege of using the Community Center and the van for various excursions. They are not charged for grounds
maintenance, watering of the lawn and plants, or snow removal even though the apartment building receives
first priority in all instances.
There are 6 paired or stand alone 1,012 sq ft 2 bedroom, 2 bath homes that are set aside for Affordable
Housing rentals. To be eligible for these homes the yearly income for one person must not exceed $39,000.
The rent is $909 + $131 community dues per month and this includes water and sewer. Resident pays for gas,
trash collection and electric. One home is currently rented to individuals that do not meet the income maximum
and are paying the rental amount they would pay if renting the larger home for which they are qualified.
There are 16 paired or stand alone 1,122 sq ft 2 bedroom, 2 bath homes that are rented with no income
limitations applied. These rent for $1,499 + $151 community dues and this includes water and sewer. Resident
pays for gas, trash collection and electric. There are currently 3 of these homes that are not rented. Until
recently the majority of them were not rented.
There are 11 homeowners and 3 houses for sale. The community dues for the homeowners is $297 per month.
For the year end 2009 each homeowner was assessed an additional $948 for unexplained and unaudited cost
overruns. In an attempt to keep their HOA fees down the homeowners have now opted out of any snow
removal and the lawns will only be mowed every two weeks.
We have estimated that Mirasol collects over $116,000 per year in community fees. I wonder if Mr. Betters
pays the community fees for each of the 3 houses that he cannot sell and for the houses that are not rented.
Recently an offer to purchase one of the homes that have been on the market for at least two years fell through
because the house did not appraise at the value the purchaser needed to finance. That is fortunate for the
purchaser since the houses are way overpriced and there is not a resale market for these homes. Two
previously owned homes have been on the market for several months with no offers.
The discontent began to escalated this past winter when there was a failure to clear the walkways of ice dams.
The snow that was removed was piled in such a way that access to the street was blocked for the homes and
the mail boxes were blocked by ice dams and piles of snow. Snow was also piled so high in front of some
homes that access to the front door was blocked. Repeated request to remove the ice dams, that were caused
by the poor snow removal from the first snow in early November and the subsequent snows, so the walkways
could drain during the thaws were ignored and residents were told if they were to do additional snow removal
then the dues would increase since they did not have the money to pay for any more snow removal.
Persistence on the part of Mrs. Jacobs resulted in their finally acting on February 17. The company that has a
contract to do snow removal was paid to work for 2 ½ hours to remove as many of the ice dams as possible in
the time allowed. They were able to complete about 80% of the work that needed to be done, but left a five
foot pile in Mrs. Jacobs front door. Small amounts of ice still remained which caused the water that pooled as a
result of an occasional thaw to back up along the walkways to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. This water froze every
night and formed an ice patch about 8 to 12 feet wide depending on which side of the street the walk way was
located. You may be thinking so what, I had the same problem last winter, but were you paying someone
$1,572 to $3,564 per year to fix that problem? Were you living in a community that promotes and contracts
with senior citizens to provide a safe and maintenance free environment?
The weeds are not being removed from around the homes or the apartment building unless Carol Vandertie a
wonderful lady in her 70’s and who loves to garden has managed to remove them. The only landscaping work
that is done is mowing and edging. I need to correct that statement, from May 2009 to May 2010 they did
aerate the lawn 3 (three) times, isn’t the standard once a year or maybe twice at the most? Since the average
age of the residents is about 75 none of them should be doing any yard work around the foundations of the
homes especially since that area is landscaped with large river rock and is a hazard for falling for a senior.
Several people have fallen trying to negotiate these areas but fortunately so far no one has broken a bone. A
large number of trees and shrubs and plants have died and have been removed. There is no plan to replace
them because as management has informed the residents they do not have the money. The grounds are slowly
beginning to look like a blight.
Three unfinished paired homes are on the site that would be for sale if finished. Until Mrs. Jacobs began
requesting they maintain the community grounds these slabs were hidden by the overgrowth of at least two
summers of weed growth and these areas were not fenced off for safety. The permit date has expired for some
of them. Mr. Gregory George with the City of Loveland did respond to Mrs. Jacobs notice to him of this
problem and the City of Loveland has made Mirasol install fencing around the sites. The fencing they used is
the orange flexible mesh that is seen frequently around construction sites or road repairs for a very short period
of time. Given the unsuccessful attempts to sell new homes at this community the homeowners that face these
ugly fences will probably be looking at them for a long time.
Due to the mantra repeated by management “we do not have the money”, I fear that this community will
become a blighted area. The concept for Mirasol is wonderful but it does have many problems that are not
being attended to and they are planning on expanding with another apartment building. If they do not have the
money to take care of the property they now have, how can they expect to take care of a larger project? Will
they charge the residents of the new building the community fee even though the Event Center is not large
enough to accommodate an increase in residents? The van that is available for the trips they offer can only hold
8 people including the driver. Since they can only accommodate the first 7 people to register what about the
other 100 or so people that may want to go? Maybe they can placate them with the van they own for the Silver
Leaf projects, that would make it possible to take another 9 or so people. Will they continue to rent out the
Event Center to the general public or continue to give free access to favored groups and prevent even more
residents from having use of the building that they will be supporting with their fees?
A grant of $600,000 has been authorized by the Affordable Housing Commission for Mirasol to build another
apartment complex on the site. The concerns of residents and neighbors voiced to the Planning Commission
were completely ignored with no investigation but instead they praised Betters for doing such a good job. All of
the paired rental homes are owned by Mr. Betters and all are tax exempt from property taxes, He also received
a substantial grant from the Affordable Housing Commission to build the current properties at Mirasol. Also
interesting is that Sam Betters was the chairman of the Affordable Housing Commission when that grant was
given. He was also chairman of the commission when the development of the guidelines and regulations for the
grant process were written. Unless the minutes are incorrect at the inception of writing the regulations for the
Affordable Housing Commission Grant Process, only non profits were eligible for a grant. But that requirement
was changed to a for profit also before construction began at Mirasol. Mr. Betters was at the Commission
meeting when that decision was made even though his term on the commission had ended. He now is on the
Affordable Housing Commission for the State of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors for Housing
Authority City of Loveland whom the City has hired to manage the affordable housing needs for the City and is
one of the owners of the Mirasol property. The other investors in the companies that are registered with the
Secretary of State are not listed on the documents. Does Conflict of Interest come to mind?
The City of Loveland’s website has a direct link for an inquiry regarding affordable housing to Housing
Authority City of Loveland’s (HACOL) website and also to the Mirasol website. Do any of you other landlords
care that HACOL and Mirasol receive free advertising and all inquiries are directed to them?
Following is a copy of the list of amenities covered by the community fee on the Mirasol website. Please note
that a fee for these services or an additional charge for a pet was not disclosed to some of the first residents that
rented the houses until they had made all arrangements to move and were signing the rental agreement. The
coffee that is kept in the Bistro must be drunk while in the building and the sweet rolls and donuts that are
donated once a week by Penguins must be eaten while in the building and are only available until about 10 A.
M. Yogurt, milk and dry cereal are always available but must be eaten while in the building. Free use of the
building has been given to a group from the Chilson Center and Management has rented the space on occasion
to other groups which limits the use by the residents.
The Mirsol website address is http://mirasolseniorcommunity.com“>mirasolseniorcommunity.com. Following is
copied from the website:
Mirasol residents are assessed a community fee to cover amenities and services. Fees vary based on the living
choice you select. Check with community manager for details.
The Mirasol community fee covers a standard package of amenities, including:
Maintenance-free living encompassing lawn care, snow removal, water, irrigation, common area upkeep, and
exterior home maintenance
Coffee bistro and daily refreshments
Business center with Internet connection and fax, printing, and copying equipment
Library with an enhanced-capacity reading machine and book loan program
Entertainment center with television, cable, VCR, and DVD player
Use of private meeting rooms and banquet facility
Bicycle loan program
Social and Educational Activities
Onsite activities director
Hobby and craft making
Wellness classes including yoga and sit-n-Stengthen
Hotel suite for residents’ guests
Beauty salon/barber shop
Other services are available for an additional fee. For questions concerning the Mirasol community fee, please
Loveland's Troubled Senior Housing Project