A Pagosa Springs resident is resisting an order by her homeowners' association to remove a peace symbol-shaped wreath from an exterior wall of her home.
"I just wanted to put a message of peace out there," said Lisa Jensen, who hung the wreath
Nov. 19. She said Wednesday she didn't intend the wreath as a statement against the Iraq war.
"I was really trying to be in favor of something - peace," Jensen said.
Bill Trimarco and Lisa Jensen stand next to their peace wreath at their home near Pagosa Springs on Friday. The couple received a letter Tuesday from their subdivision’s homeowners’ association telling them to take down the sign or face a fine of $25 per day. (RANDI PIERCE/Special to the Herald)
She was informed by letter from the Loma Linda Homeowners' Association that "Loma Linda
residents are offended by the Peace Sign displayed on the front of your house."
The letter, citing a use-restriction banning "signs, billboards or advertising structures of
any kind" within the subdivision without prior approval, said the wreath had to come down by Friday, or Jensen and
husband, Bill Trimarco, would face a $25-per-day fine.
Jensen said Saturday that Friday's deadline had come and gone without contact from the board
of directors. She was unsure of how, if imposed, collection of any fine would be enforced, but planned to leave all
of her Christmas decorations, including the wreath, up until after Christmas.
Homeowners' Association President Bob Kearns said Wednesday that the board had required
another resident to remove peace symbols a week before, and that property owner complied.
Jensen said the other property owner, a neighbor, had sunk skis marked with peace symbols in
his driveway as driveway markers. She said the neighbor told her he was informed that residents were offended by the
posting of the peace symbols "while our country is at war."
Kearns declined to describe the complaints he had received about Jensen's wreath but
expressed his own opinion.
"The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it," he said. "It's also an
anti-Christ sign. That's how it started."
The 1972 edition of Symbol Sourcebook: An Authoritative Guide to International Graphic
Symbols, a major reference work by Henry Dreyfuss, admits to uncertainty about the source of the "crow's foot"
"Controversy surrounds the origin of the ubiquitous peace symbol," Dreyfuss wrote. "It was
introduced by pacifist Lord Bertrand Russell during Easter of 1958, when he marched at Aldermaston, England,
campaigning for nuclear disarmament."
Dreyfuss said the symbol, designed by a British commercial artist, most likely represents the
convergence of the semaphore symbols for the letter and D and the circle symbol, for total nuclear disarmament.
Others claim the symbol represents an upside-down cross with broken arms and is therefore anti-Christian or
Jensen said she put up the wreath to honor the Biblical call for peace and goodwill toward
She said the board had unfairly singled out the display, given that other houses regularly
display Christmas lights. A former president of the board, she described the current board as "pretty
Kearns denied any personal vitriol. He said Jensen and Trimarco were first notified of the
decision in a letter attached to an e-mail stating the board's "courtesy and respect (for) the both of you." He said
the board has not fined anyone in the three years he has served as president and that the board would place itself in
legal jeopardy if it treated Jensen's case differently from the other peace symbol offense.
Kearns said those he contacted for legal advice had "laughed at" the idea of allowing the
display of a peace symbol.
On Wednesday, every member of the subdivision's five-person Architectural Control Committee
was asked to resign when they collectively opposed the decision by the board of directors to fine Jensen and
In a public letter posted on Pagosa.com on Friday, Jack Lilly, the chairman of the committee
wrote, "The Architectural Committee was asked to intervene. The five members met and decided that no message, other
than a wish for peace could be inferred in the symbols and saw no violation of the CC&Rs (covenants, codes and
restrictions). The Board of Directors has the authority to override the ACC and did so. But that wasn't enough. They
demanded that anyone that disagreed with them should be removed from the committee. We all resigned."
Changes in Colorado law in 2005 prevent homeowners' associations from prohibiting a number of
actions, including display of the American flag, display of a service flag and display of a political sign meant to
influence an election.
However, the law does not keep these associations from prohibiting other types of displays.
The sign restrictions quoted to Jensen were in force during her presidency.
Jensen said she may consider legal action through the American Civil Liberties Union.
Attempts to contact Kearns were unsuccessful Saturday.
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