County talks trash in blight workshop |

County talks trash in blight workshop

A junk mattress and box spring left on the side of Highway 34 in the fall of 2017 prompted local citizens to lobby Grand County for more clearly defined blight codes. After several days on US 34 someone spray painted "free bed bugs" on the side of the mattress, apparently as a joke.
Courtesy of Stan Spencer

Blight was back on the agenda this week for the Grand County Board of Commissioners as concerned citizens, municipal government officials and federal employees met with the county for a workshop discussion on the ways Middle Park addresses its trash problems.

The issue was brought to the forefront by county resident Stan Spencer, who began raising concerns last fall about the process the county uses to address blight and other code violations. Spencer’s personal concerns about trash and blight code violations stemmed from properties near his residence in the Three Lakes area, where he sometimes encounters open wells and other dangerous code violations. Spencer also raised concerns about the trash items that are often illegally deposited on Grand County’s roadways during shoulder season.

Tuesday’s discussion kicked off with officials from the Grand County Community Development department outlining the County’s existing procedures for addressing blight violations. Under current county codes after the county receives a complaint county staff must then go to the location of the alleged violation for a site inspection to confirm a violation exists.

A warning letter is then sent out and landowners have 30 days to come into compliance. From there the county allows code violators to negotiate a compliance agreement. If a compliance agreement is reach the county allows landowners an additional 30 to 60 days to come into compliance. After the specified time period is completed county staff will once again inspect the site to determine if compliance has been reached. The entire process can take anywhere from six weeks to up to four months.

“I know the county commissioners, county in general, and the community development department over the years has been very concerned about right of private property owners,” said Tom Leatherwood, Grand County Community Development Director. “It has become clear to us that there are property owners throughout the county that are concerned we are not acting swiftly enough to address the existing blight issues. That appropriate balance is what we are seeking in our discussion.”

Local government officials went on to talk about the trash disposal procedures and regulations in the various communities across Grand County and also delved into landfill and recycling program discussions as well. The Commissioners took no formal action during the workshop.

“We do believe, at the county, that continuing to have some kind of discussions with citizens, HOAs, and the towns is a good idea to seek out best practices,” Leatherwood said.

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