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Residents Demand Building Code Enforcement

Shoddy construction and abandoned housing projects were among complaints residents voiced to the Board of Commissioners. Pictured here was a cabin put under violation in 2009. After the property owner ignored court orders and fines it took five years before a tax sale certificate could be redeemed for a deed. The new owner agreed to clean up the mess after the county agreed to lift the lien on the property.

Two residents of the Copper Gulch area and a Penrose woman sounded off Tuesday to the Board of County Commissioners demanding more code enforcement to force neighbors to clean up their properties.   John Garrou, who lives in the Copper Gulch area, denounced the fact that some people have illegally set up living quarters on their property in fifth wheel trailers and are preparing them for the winter ahead.    Garrou said “People are living there with no porta-potties or requirements for a source of water.”  Garrou also complained that Fremont County needs a time limit on building permits.

County Building Official Mike Cox noted that a one year limit already exists with property owners allowed to seek another one year extension.   Garrou said Fremont County needs to take a harder line with trashy properties.   He says Teller County is now giving people 60 days to clean up their property “or else”.

Commission Chairman Ed Norden said the Board of Commissioners and county officials are equally frustrated over dilapidated properties.   Norden said if property owners recognize a problem and are willing to cooperate the county’s Code Enforcement officers can provide dumpsters to help people come into compliance.    But Norden said “Like it or not, these people have personal property rights and if they refuse to clean up, the county’s effort to force a cleanup is not an overnight process.”

Chyriese Marentette said she is frustrated that formal complaints she has filed in the past have not been addressed.   Marentette said she previously submitted five or six complaints on specific properties but to her knowledge none of them have been dealt with.   The Commissioners asked Marentette to meet with Planning Director Matt Koch to review the status of each complaint.   Tina Heffner of Penrose echoed the concerns saying the problems are the same in Penrose where one person lives in a camp trailer and has 11 horses on his property.  Heffner said the man uses a porta-potty and after documented complaints for over a year she has no confidence anything will be done.

The Board of Commissioners approved a Special Review Use Permit for the Deer Mountain Fire Protection District as the district prepares to expand their facilities.   Deer Mountain Fire District Board Member Karen McKee said the primary need is for a new building to house fire trucks.   She said the district currently parks seven vehicles outdoors and during freezing weather those vehicles have to be taken out of service.   Along with a new building, a new heli-pad has been built across the road.

The Board of Commissioners approved the annual agreement with the Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments (UAACOG) to participate in the regional recycling program.   Commission Chairman Ed Norden used the occasion to announce that because of increased revenues from solid waste collection fees the Commissioners have earmarked $7,500 in the county’s 2016 budget to assist with electronic recycling days.   Norden said the $7,500 should help in reducing the amount UAACOG will have to charge to recycle computer equipment and television sets.   He said in turn perhaps people will quit using TV sets for target practice or dump them in roadside ditches.

In other business at the October 27th meeting the Commissioners:

  • Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Florence to exchange the value of two parcels of property deeded to Florence in exchange for a reduced price for a pair of water taps at Pathfinder Regional Park;
  • Approved a proclamation declaring November 20th as National Adoption Day in Fremont County.   On that day formal adoptions will be finalized in Fremont County court for eight children;
  • Approved a six month extension for a Special Review Use Permit for Play Dirty ATV Tours to come into compliance for a new site operation west of Texas Creek;
  • Approved a transfer of ownership of name change for a Conditional Use Permit for the Cooper gravel pit along Iron Mountain Road to Rocky Mountain Excavating;
  • Announced that a public hearing on Fremont County’s 2016 proposed budget will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 10th.