Washers/Dryers

 

Update (02/09/2013): In-unit washers/dryers are now approved at Mountain Side! Thanks to a few owners’ continued efforts to research and question HOA BOD inaccurate claims throughout the years, we are pleased to announce that the HOA board of Directors has finally decided to allow owners to install standard Washer/dryers in their unit. This is great news!

Such amenities will increase property value, increase rental earning potential since in-unit laundry systems are among the most highly prized amenities for owners, residents and guests and make any stay at Mountain Side a lot more enjoyable and relaxing!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this outcome!

Below are the reasons that the HOA BOD provided to arbitrarily ban W/D in the units:

Washers/Dryers are among the amenities that are expected when purchasing or renting an updated condo unit. Across Colorado, multi-housing complexes are being retrofit with high efficiency/low discharge rated washers and condensing dryers approved by local building departments in order to fulfill this need. Likewise, many owners have expressed the interest to install washer/dryers at Mountain Side. This topic has come up each year at various board meetings or annual owners’ meeting. The board has invariably denied such requests and has continuously based its decision on facts that are either incorrect, obsolete, or irrational.  Please find below the reasons given by the HOA board of Directors through the years supporting the ban on Washers/Dryers:

 1) The current Rules and Regulations state that, “Installation of washers and dryers within the unit is prohibited based on a contractual agreement with the Frisco Sanitation District”, dated in 1991. Argument proven to be false in April of 2008

The rules and regulations indeed used to refer to such agreement. In April of 2008, we contacted the Frisco Sanitation District for clarification with regards to this agreement. None could be found. The board was notified and immediately changed the wording in the rules and regulations to extend the ban on washer/dryers installations invoking a different reason: “no washers and dryers can be added due to plumbing issues” (cf BOD meeting minutes of 05/03/2008 and 07/26/08). This motion was passed based on how a board member ‘felt’ about the plumbing system, not on facts.

The E-mail from the Frisco Sanitation District regarding installation of washers and dryers at the complex was discussed at length. The current Rules and Regulations state that, “Installation of washers and dryers within the unit is prohibited based on a contractual agreement with the Frisco Sanitation District.” Neither the Sanitation District nor Mountain Managers can locate any such agreement. The Water District was also contacted. Both the Sanitation District and the Water District have stated that they have no problems with washers/dryers being installed at Mountain Side Condominiums. The Board is looking into this and wants to ensure that everything is done to code. Mountain Managers was asked to contact the Building Department to make sure there’s enough power to serve everyone if a lot of owners decide to put in washers/dryers and that the drain lines are big enough to support the addition of more appliances. Venting was also discussed. This will differ from unit to unit but if installing washers/dryers is allowed, owners who need to vent through a wall would have to have Design Review Committee approval before approval. Town approval for plumbing and electrical would also be necessary.
(Source: BOD meeting minutes 05/03/2008, page 3)

2) Only buildings I and J have been designed to have washers and dryers. INCORRECT. Blueprints have been located in the building departments for the Town of Frisco and Summit County showing compatible plumbing stacks with multi-housing W/D appliances.

The issue about washers/dryers was revisited on 02/21/2009 and it was noted that buildings I and J were the only buildings designed to have washers and dryers. If this is so, why was it necessary for the BOD to decide to look at both buildings and see if these units are plumbed for a W/D?

Installation of washers/dryers (Condo Rules and Regulations). This currently states that none are permitted unless they were installed prior to 1991. It was noted that I & J buildings are designed to have washers/dryers. A suggestion was made to change the Rules and Regulations to read if the building was originally plumbed for a washer/dryer, it can be installed. If the building was not originally plumbed for a washer/dryer, no installation of a washer/dryer is permitted. An alternative suggestion was to revise the Rules to state that washers/dryers are permitted in I & J buildings with submittal of proper plans and written approval. All other installations are prohibited. It was decided to look at I & J buildings and see if units are plumbed for a washer/dryer and have the proper electrical outlets before making a final decision on the wording of the Rules and Regulations.
(source: BOD meeting minutes 02/21/2009, page 7)

Installation of washers/dryers in condo units: Mountain Managers’ letter to the Board with information on washers/dryers was attached to the meeting packet. Bill was not in favor of allowing installation of washers/dryers and feels unit drain/waste systems are not adequate. Herb stated that I and J buildings were plumbed for washers/dryers. E.J. noted that if an owner wants to install a washer/dryer he would need to have both a mechanical and electrical engineer to size for the entire stack of the building. This is not an inexpensive thing to do. Bill feels that giving any sort of option to owners will be giving them false hope and it could cost upwards of $5,000 for the 2 engineering reports. After discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and passed to retain the current policy – no washers and dryers can be added due to plumbing issues. If any owners want to proceed regardless of cost, they can appeal to the Board. Eric will prepare a letter to send out to owners who would like to install a washer and dryer explaining why the Board has taken this position. The letter will be sent to Bill Meek for review and comments prior to mailing out.
(Source: BOD meeting minutes 07/26/2008, page 3)

3) Electrical capacity of the buildings could not handle W/D in all units.

This is a non-issue. There are very few owners interested in pursuing a washer/dryer installation once they find out the cost. Therefore, each building would never reach capacity. Assuming that everyone decides to install a washer/dryer, every unit would have to be occupied and every unit would have to run their appliance AT THE SAME TIME in order to create a problem. The HOA recently encouraged owners to replace their windows and obtained bids. Very few owners decided to go through the expense. It would be the same outcome if the HOA were to campaign in favor of W/D in all units.

Electrical capacity of the buildings: Susan explained that Bluebird Electric assessed the capacity for a 1 and a 2 bedroom unit for washer/dryer installation. He could not make a determination and stated it was really on the border. He suggested having an electrical engineer approve or disapprove any installation. The Board noted that they have vetoed any requests and the Town of Frisco agrees. Code requirements would not allow installation of washer/dryer without an electrical and plumbing evaluation. The HOA does not need to enforce – The Town can do that. The Town has said they will not issue permits for washer/dryer installation in buildings A through H. The Board will not approve without a permit. Should the Town ever approve a request, they will be asked if the plumbing/electrical assessments have been done. If not, the Town would be in violation of the international building code.

Bill stated that he had originally asked for an electrician to look at the panel for the maximum that could be used. This was meant for informational purposes only.
(Source: BOD meeting minutes 02/05/2011, page 7)

5) A washer increases water usage as well as the risk of flood.

Both are incorrect. It is easy to install a washer box with an on/off shutoff valve which can manually be turned off when washer is not in use, thus preventing any leak from occurring. A traditional washer requires a 3-inch plumbing stack. However, in the last 10 years, new appliances have been designed to work safely with plumbing stacks that are only 2 inches in diameters. These appliances are sold under a ‘multi-housing’ label, have been designed specifically for retrofit applications and have been installed in numerous multi-story buildings throughout the country. Multiple examples of such legal installations can be found throughout Summit, Eagle and Jefferson counties.

These modern high efficient washers feature a low discharge rate. These appliances are rated 1DFU (DFU=drainage fixture unit). FYI, a washer rated as a 1DFU must offer a discharge rate of less than 7.48 gpm. Not only do they provide a low discharge rate (preventing any backup from occurring when connected to a plumbing stack as small as 2 inches), they also use less water than a typical dishwasher.

Several low-discharge rate ‘multi-housing’ appliances even have a discharge rate as low as 5.5 gpm. All MountainSide condos have a plumbing stack that is at least 2 inches in diameter. Plumbing variances can be obtained for such purposes. Many multi-stories older complexes have been retrofitted with such appliances and were done so with a plumbing variance application and a succession building inspection. An example of such appliance can be found here: http://www.askousa.com/pages/download.cfm?file=B48F38A0011978C59576CB7AB7FED46F6E033529

6) Dryers need venting and venting is not possible at MountainSide.

This is obsolete. There are many condensing (ventless) dryers on the market that do not require any venting. The building code only requires a full 1” undercut of the closet door hosting the dryer for makeup air”, which is easily accomplished by any handyman.

7) The complex was built in the 1980s and building permits/plans are no longer available.

This is incorrect. Anyone can contact the corresponding building department and research the archives. Drain and Vent schematic for all 3 phases of construction can be located and as expected, all phases of constructions passed inspection and the property certificate of occupancy was issued for all units. These schematics show that all drains were constructed with 2” to 4” in diameter throughout the structure. A Multi housing W/D installation requires a minimum of 2″ plumbing stack throughout. All the units have 2″ plumbing draining into 3″ and 4″ plumbing stacks.

8 ) W/D installations prior to 1991 have been grandfathered by the HOA. How many of such W/D have been installed without an issue? Have they caused a problem through these years? Not one problem, such as flooding or electrical issues associated with W/D installed prior to 1991 has ever been brought up in any of the HOA minutes.

To summarize:

1) Current technology makes it possible to have W/D installed in multihousing buidings that were not originally built with a W/D hookup in their floorplan.

2) Retrofitting a condo with such an appliance is not cheap but it is LEGALLY POSSIBLE as it can easily be accomplished and be code compliant.

3)The Board needs to start working with the owners who have financially invested in this complex,  who care about their property and want the Mountain Side complex to be a modern place that features all the amenities necessary to compete with the new developments in town.

Working together toward maintaining the grounds, buildings and the interior of the units is beneficial for anyone who has invested in this location. It will  provide short-term vacationing guests and all-year residents a great environment to reside in and ensure higher resale value.

2 Responses to Washers/Dryers

  1. Tabasco says:

    This an excellent analysis. Has the HOA BOD’s made any mention of 25 year old water heaters prevalent in many of the original units?

    We are owners of three Mountain Side Condominiums (which also makes us partial owners of the HOA) and because we have personally experienced the results of a failed 25 year old water heater above one of our units, we can testify to the enormous damage that is done by this type of failure.

    Because a water heater continues to fill indefinitely after failure whereas a modern washer has an automatic shut-off, the exposure to resulting damage from failure of the two types of appliances cannot even be compared. One is limited and the other is not; a failed water heater floods until a person turns it off. Obviously in a condominium complex like Mountain Side with such a large percentage of vacant and part time occupancy, the risk presented by older water heaters, toilets, sinks, ice makers and dishwashers is astronomically higher than from failed washers.

    It’s our opinion that the HOA BOD and PCLMM Inc. dba Mountain Managers should be considering and working cooperatively with owners to address the risks associated with the hundreds of 25 year old water heaters and other appliances rather than “targeting owners” (as one PCLMM Inc. dba Mountain Mangers employee put it) who remodel and improve their units forgoing the expense associated with the installation of modern, green, energy-efficient washer and dryer units, updated and energy-efficient water heaters, green low flow toilets, sinks, showers and electrical upgrades for imaginary code violations over which they have no real authority anyway.

    Especially when those improvements and appliances have been installed legally under permit, existed prior to purchase, have been inspected and approved by the Town of Frisco and identified to the HOA, the HOA BOD and PCLMM Inc. dba Mountain Managers on at least several occasions in the past. Fortunately disorganization, failure to maintain records and personal feelings of members of the BOD and Mountain Managers, Inc. do not make legal washer and dryer installations (and other legal improvements) illegal.

    Finally, in speaking with one real estate appraiser, three local realtors and three owners with Mountain Side condos on the market for sale, all seven have advised that the Number 3 reason why Mountain Side units do not sell, sell at substantially lower than asking price or remain on the market longer than other competing complexes and/or new construction, is the lack of washers and dryers in the units. The Number 1 reason is difficulty of access to buildings i.e. steps and no elevator, and Number 2, age of the complex and associated “dated” units in need of upgrade. After viewing our E-279 unit, one realtor actually commented “WOW, you don’t even feel like your at Mountain Side when you walk into this unit”.

    The Mountain Side HOA BOD’s do some great work and manage many aspects of the association very well however, and as I indicated in my comment under HOA UNAUTHORIZED (ILLEGAL) ENTRIES on this site, the BOD’s new(ish) entry into pseudo governmental code enforcement, willingness to simply change rules each time an owner dares question them or their authority or their own incorrect understandings and assumptions has to stop.

    Facts are facts and modern green technology is the reality of our future so it’s time for the HOA BOD’s to at least move forward into the present and work with owners to make Mountain Side into the positive, modern vibrant community it can and will eventually be.

    Please feel free to give me a call or email any time at the number below to discuss our complex or just share ideas.

    Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mountainsidecondos

  2. Tabasco says:

    From the November 12, 2012 HOA BOD Meeting Minutes:

    Washers and Dryers: EJ stated there had been a number of meetings with the Town
    of Frisco and Summit County. It now appears that the existing infrastructure of the
    buildings will support washers/dryers. If there is a washer/dryer in a unit, it will need to
    be inspected and approved. Even if washers and dryers are permitted, the Board
    would like to see some additional requirements such as braided steel hoses, a floor
    drain or drain pan with pump, and proof of adequate insurance to cover any damage
    the washer may cause. Damage to other units from an upper unit washer becomes an
    HOA issue. The Board wants to make sure there is as much protection as possible for
    lower units over and above town requirements. It was also suggested that an auto
    water shut off valve/sensor be required. The Condo Rules and Regulations will need
    to be revised. Mountain Managers will prepare a draft revision to the Rules and send it
    to the Board for approval. The Board can make changes and vote to adopt via e-mail.
    Once approved, owners will be notified and given a time frame to comply. Non
    compliance can result in the HOA mandating removal. Fines can be assessed in
    accordance with the Rules and Regulations.

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