Cabin owners file lawsuit against Three Lakes Water & Sanitation
September 16, 2014
A Denver couple has filed a lawsuit against Grand Lake's Three Lakes Water & Sanitation District following a dispute over fees.
Brian and Diane Conaway, owners of Granby Cabins LLC, allege that the district has unfairly assessed their covey of eight rental cabins on County Road 64 in Grand Lake.
The Conaways purchased the cabins in 2011, at which time they were evaluated at 5.5 single-family equivalents. The lawsuit asserts that the district unilaterally increased the evaluation to 8 SFEs.
The districts definition of a SFE is "a building that possesses the average characteristics of a home of a single family," which uses a maximum of 300 gallons of water per day.
“The only comment I would make is we don’t think the claims have any merit and we’re responding in that fashion.”
Manager, Three Lakes Water & Sanitation District
After installing a new water meter on the waterline from the well serving the property in April 2013, the lawsuit states that the Conaways found all eight cabins combined use an average total of 279 gallons per day.
The lawsuit, filed Aug. 4, maintains that the district unfairly implemented retroactive tap fees on the cabins, and is currently overcharging the owners by 800 to 1,000 percent.
The district maintains that the tap fees were not retroactively imposed, but were applied at the time that the district learned the cabins would change from nightly to full-time rentals, said Sally Blea, manager for the district.
The suit seeks an injunction reversing the imposition of retroactive tap fees, reclassification of the cabins, attorney fees and an injunction against the enforcement of a lien, which the Conaways have since paid.
The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages for slander, which the Conaways maintain resulted from the lien on the property.
The district filed a $22,000 lien against the property after the Conaway's refused to pay retroactive quarterly and tap fees.
The Conaways paid $32,000, the cost of the lien plus fees, to prevent the lien from being sold, Brian said.
The district has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
"The only comment I would make is we don't think the claims have any merit and we're responding in that fashion," Blea said.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.