County orders cleanup

Thompson hill 'rubbish' to be removed

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County residents may occasionally get a little slack from the rules and regulations on outbuildings they put up on the ranch.

But the county will go only so far when violations continue to pile up after a number of warnings have been issued.

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That was the message at Tuesday's Moffat County commissioners meeting, when the board of commissioners notified David Greathouse that his continued efforts to build a structure on his Thompson Hill property -- without meeting county requirements -- were over.

After a number of attempts to get Greathouse to clean up his 6,300-square-foot property, the county took the case to court late last year.

On April 18, the court found in the county's favor and Greathouse was given 30 days to bring the property into compliance with county zoning regulations.

With the court deadline resulting in no action by Greathouse, the county commissioners approved going ahead with cleaning up of the property by a private contractor, with the cost of the project being paid for by the county.

A lien will be filed against the property for reimbursement of cleanup costs.

Greathouse purchased the property in 2004 and received a permit from the county to build a garage. He decided later not to build and received a partial refund for his permit.

He then decided to build an adobe-like structure out of sandbags and dirt, which the county made him stop building in the summer of 2005.

In 2006, Greathouse began work on a structure built out of tires filled with mud. The Moffat County Building Department ordered him to stop building on the house, due in part to zoning violations in the setbacks required on the property.

Because Greathouse's property is a corner lot, any structure needs to be 25 feet from the road on both sides. The tire house was only 10 feet from the road.

Other building projects on the property remain partially finished and a hole Greathouse dug on the property is now a water-filled hazard to the public, county code enforcement officer Pat Mosbey said.

Continued attempts by the county's building department and county attorney to reach Greathouse and get him to comply with county regulations have failed.

"You're not complying with the building department, and you are violating the law," commissioner Saed Tayyara told Greathouse. "Three times you were aware of the violations, and you continued to build."

Greathouse offered to make some changes during Tuesday's meeting.

"The tires I might make into a fence," he said. "Make some kind of legal structure out of it. I was going to put a cellar down there, (in the hole) but never got the documents."

Tayyara informed Greathouse that nobody is allowed to make a fence out of tires, and commissioner Tom Mathers went even further.

"Everything up there is rubbish. You can't do anything you want to because it's out in the county," he said. "It's going to get cleaned up by either you or us. Who's going to do it?"

Receiving no guarantees from Greathouse, the commissioners went ahead with plans to hire a cleanup crew.

Mosbey said the county regulations involved in this case apply to every county resident.

"We're not denying the right to build. People just need to follow setback and permit regulations," he said. "There are a couple of people I'm dealing with right now, hopefully they'll get the message.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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