Grand Lake man files suit against Three Lakes Water and Sanitation over service fees |

Grand Lake man files suit against Three Lakes Water and Sanitation over service fees

Flames consume portions of the Isolation Peaks Motel in 2011. The motel was demolished after the fire and sewer lines on the property were capped, leading to property owner John Waller's dispute with Three Lakes Water and Sanitation regarding the legitimacy of ongoing sewer service fees.
File photo

After several years of contentious discussion between local business owner John Waller and the Three Lakes Water and Sanitation District, Waller has moved to sue the special district, filing suit in Grand County District Court on Aug. 7.

The dispute between Waller and Three Lakes Water and Sanitation stems from sewer service fees levied by Three Lakes on property Waller owns near Grand Lake. For several years Waller owned and operated a 20 unit motel located just off US Highway 34 but the motel burned down in 2011. After the motel was demolished in 2012 Waller capped the 10 taps connected to the property, which he was required to do.

Since then Three Lakes Water and Sanitation District, the special taxing district that provides water and sewer service to the area, has continued to assess a quarterly sewer service bill of roughly $1,100 on the property.

Waller contends the fees are unfair and inappropriate and has not paid the quarterly service bill since the motel building was demolished in 2012. Since then he has accrued, between service fees and penalties levied by the County Treasurer’s office, a bill totaling around $18,000 according to the lawsuit.

Waller has previously sought relief from Three Lakes regarding the ongoing sewer service fees but has been rebuffed on more than one occasion, as recently as July. For their part officials from Three Lakes contend the fees are proper and fair and that the district’s rules mandate the ongoing payment of sewer service fees even on capped sewer taps.

The district’s manager, Katie Nicholls, told Sky-Hi News in early May that Waller has the option of relinquishing the taps, which would eliminate the assessment of future sewer service fees. Waller has stated previously he will not relinquish the taps because the costs associated with removing and then ever replacing the taps at a future date would be prohibitive.

According to court documents filed by Waller’s attorney Grand County has threatened to place a lien on the property if the outstanding fees are not paid by Oct. 1. The lawsuit lists four claims for relief. Waller is asking the court to declare that Three Lakes abused it discretion in when applying applicable laws and the district’s rules and regulations. Waller also asks the court to enjoin the collection of any usage fees and any liens against the property. He is also seeking a monetary award covering his attorney fees and related court costs.

“They have pushed me too much,” Waller said Wednesday afternoon. “They could have worked with me a little bit. This is not fair.”

Three Lakes District Manager Katie Nicholls said she had not yet seen any lawsuit related documents as of Wednesday afternoon and as such was unable to comment on the topic.

Waller’s attorney Vikrama Chandrashekar, with the Denver-based law firm of Moye White, had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

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