Neighborhood residents feel blue about noise levels | CraigDailyPress.com

Neighborhood residents feel blue about noise levels

Janelle O'Dea

The level of noise coming from the community in the Moffat County Commissioners' meeting on Tuesday morning was louder than usual.

Members from the Blue Mountain community came to the meeting to present a proposed noise ordinance and resolve a neighborhood dispute.

Blue Mountain is a subdivision situated 90 miles southwest of Craig, close to the Utah border.

Jeff Devere, who works at Colorado Northwestern Community College, represented six families in the community who were fed up with a neighbor's shooting guns. Devere and another resident, Lou Dean, spoke about how the noise level disturbs them and at times they feel endangered by the shooting.

"Folks in Blue Mountain are frustrated and tired with some nuisances we have with some folks," Devere said. "We have questioned and asked the sheriff to intervene many times and they said they can’t do anything."

Devere and Dean said residents have also had trouble with dogs at large.

Recommended Stories For You

Troy Zufelt, the target of the proposed ordinance, said he occasionally shoots tannerite targets and other guns on his property.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz was present at the meeting. He said while the county does have an ordinance pertaining to barking dogs, dogs at large and vicious dogs, it does not have a noise ordinance.

"This is not the first time this has happened in subdivisions," Jantz said. "Does it disturb neighbors? Yes it does, but that’s the fact of life living in a county with no noise ordinance."

Jantz also said Zufelt is in compliance with firearms laws and said continuing to call the police on a law-abiding citizen is a form of law enforcement harassment.

Dean said the first time she called the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, she was not trying to report Zufelt but find out what kind of shooting is legal in the neighborhood.

"Then they went over and talked to you," Dean said to Zufelt. "And I didn't even know they were going to do that."

Dean also said the tannerite targets make her windows shake when they explode.

County attorney Rebecca Tyree said there are two options. Members of the Blue Mountain community could file a case in court to enjoin Zufelt from shooting tannerite targets.

She also said it is possible for Blue Mountain residents to write an ordinance and commissioners could approve it for only the Blue Mountain neighborhood rather than the entire county, but commissioners would have to establish a "rational basis" for the ordinance to only apply to certain parts of the county. They would also have to hold a series of public hearings on the ordinance.

Zufelt, the county commissioners and Blue Mountain citizens all agreed they didn't really want to take legal action on this issue, but would rather resolve it internally as neighbors.

"Why should I have to curb my lifestyle because they don't like it?" Zufelt asked.

Tyree said Zufelt could have a "foreseeable risk" if a horse is scared by the shots and injures a person. The injured person could potentially sue Zufelt, Tyree said.

"The tannerite targets? I can end that issue right now. I'll put them in the gun safe. That's an issue that can go away right now," Zufelt said.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said he wanted the neighbors to work it out between themselves and "just be good neighbors."

"All we want is peace and quiet," Dean said.

Because Zufelt agreed to stop shooting tannerite targets, the issue is tabled for now. All in the neighborhood, as well as the county commissioners, hope the issue can be resolved without legal action.

In other business, Commissioner John Kinkaid said he's looking into obtaining grant funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation's Colorado Off-System Bridge Program. This grant money would help the county's Swinging Bridge situation.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday

Action items

Commissioners approved:

• Oct. 21 Commissioner meeting minutes

• Emergency Management Program Grant reimbursement request

• Bill of Sale—Crack Seal Machine exchange with Routt County

• Credit application for Crop Production Services