September 18, 2009

Tarryall Valley study

Lynda James

Park County's Board of County Commissioners signed a contract on Sept. 10 with the Colorado Historical Society for a State Historical Fund grant to conduct an intensive survey of properties in the Tarryall Valley.

The purpose of the grant is to expand the cultural resource inventory and add to the existing historical data along County Road 77, also called the Tarryall Road, which extends southeast from Jefferson to Lake George. It is the first step necessary to possibly nominate the area as a National Rural Landscape District, which would add tourist appeal to the county.

The grant is for $20,134, with the county providing a $7,500 match. The final report is due in April 2011.

Park County Office of Historic Preservation Director Linda Balough told The Flume that $5,000 of the matching funds will come from the general fund's Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) money, and $1,500 from the budget of the Park County Department of Tourism and Community Development. PILT payments from the federal government help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within the county's boundaries.

Balough told the commissioners that a historical survey was conducted by the Federal Highway Administration in 1996 as part of the federal paving project of CR 77. That survey only listed historical assets within 100 feet of the road.

The new survey will include anything that contributes to the visual landscape of the valley with no limit on distance from the road.

The scope of work lists 11 properties that were not included in the previous survey. It will include non-historic and historic resources. Some properties are from 1,000 to 3,500 feet from the roadway.

The final work report will recommend boundaries for a proposed National Rural Landscape District and a list of resources and their contributing status.

Balough said that currently no National Rural Landscape Districts are in Colorado. She said she was excited that the Tarryall Valley could become the first in the state. She told The Flume that landscape districts are common in the East.

Aumiller CUP

Terry Aumiller withdrew his application for a conditional use permit for a major home business in a residential zone. The property is zoned R-20.

The hearing on the application had been continued from July. The property is located at the intersection of Mount Evans Boulevard and Nova Road northwest of Pine Junction and had received complaints from residents in the Woodside Park subdivision.

Aumiller requested the conditional use permit to continue operating his American Restoration Inc. company that mitigates fire and water damage to buildings. His first CUP expired in 2006.

Aumiller said he had found property in Jefferson County for lease and was moving his business there.

Commissioner John Tighe expressed regret in Aumiller's decision after saying, "Park County is starving for business."

Aumiller said he was filing paperwork that day with the Park County Assessor's Office to change his property taxes back to residential rates from commercial tax rates.

A resident of Woodside asked the commissioners if Aumiller would still need to remove the propane tanks, Dumpsters and shipping containers from the edge of the property.

That accumulation of tanks, Dumpsters and other materials was listed by several residents in July as the reason they opposed the CUP. Aumiller was given until Sept. 10 to stipulate to a screening plan.

Development Services Coordinator Tom Eisenman said earlier that day he had inspected the property and all that was left were two shipping containers.

He said they are on skidders but still considered accessory buildings under the Land Use Regulations. Under R-20 zoning regulations, there is no limit on the number of accessory buildings on a property. But accessory buildings can't be used for commercial purposes.

Eisenman said that if Aumiller continues to keep them on the lot and store clients' property in the containers, he would be in violation of the LUR, and action could be taken.

Public comment

During public comment, Don and Lelani Freeman asked the commissioners for relief from a code violation of having accessory structures on their residential property in Nine Mile Heights with a dwelling unit.

They own three lots that are close to each other but not adjacent. Their residence is on a different lot. All three lots have access off of Highway 9 between Guffey and Hartsel in southcentral Park County.

The Freemans said they had called the Building Department before constructing the sheds to ask what size and how many were allowed without a building permit.

They said they were not told that a residence must exist on the same lot to construct sheds in a residential zone.

The Freemans said the violation notice received after statements were made by the Freemans against the Building Department was not a coincidence. They believed the violation was in retaliation for their statements. The notice from the Building Department said they had to remove the sheds, which cost almost $7,000.

A complaint to the Building Department purportedly made by neighbors Richard and Vonda Mumm contained several errors, including a misspelled last name, wrong address and wrong phone number.

The Freemans contacted the Mumms, who have been out of the country as missionaries since the first of the year. The Mumms were unaware of the complaint and sent a letter to the county saying they did not file the complaint.

Lelani Freeman said that when she asked Building Department Code Enforcer Herb Burton where the complaint had come from, he said, "It just showed up on my desk."

Burton was not present at the commissioners meeting; nor did the commissioners call him to come to the meeting.

The Freemans also said they had tried to contact Tom Eisenman to resolve the situation on several occasions, with no response.

Eisenman was present at the meeting. The commissioners asked him if he'd like to respond to the allegations. Eisenman declined, but he did say the Freemans had done their due diligence. He also said that the call should have been forwarded to the Planning Department, which would know that a residence was necessary to build accessory structures in a residential zone (lots less than 20 acres).

Commissioner Mark Dowaliby suggested ignoring the complaint since the Mumms did not file it. Eisenman said the department couldn't because it was now aware of a violation.

Commissioner John Tighe said they could not ignore the violation because then more would want an exception.

Eisenman did offer a solution. He said that in the past, as long as owners had a building permit, driveway permit and septic permit and renewed them each year, accessory structures were allowed to stay.

The commissioners gave the Freemans one year to obtain all the permits. If they did, the violation would be dropped.

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