The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting today authorized funding for the removal of sixteen dilapidated modular buildings that have been illegally stored on vacant residential lots in the Park Vista area for approximately three years. The buildings, which have become an eyesore, have been the source of multiple citizen complaints to El Paso County Code Enforcement.
Under Colorado law, El Paso County land use code violations are enforced through a civil court process to guarantee private property rights and due process as required by the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution.
In response to multiple citizen complaints that the modular buildings were unsafe, unsightly and attracting criminal behavior, County Code enforcement notified the property owners requesting that they be removed. They owners did not comply with those requests so the County Attorney’s Office initiated the legal process to force compliance. For more than two years, county staff has been working through a tangled web of changing corporate and out of state ownership in its effort to compel the owners of the property to remove the buildings and bring their properties into compliance.
On October 27, 2016, the Court ordered the property owners to remove the modular buildings and any debris and rubbish from their properties. The property owners have not taken any actions to comply with the judge’s orders. The County will now be filing for an administrative warrant requesting the Court to give permission to the County and its contractor to enter the property and remove the dilapidated and dangerous structures, including any and all rubbish.
Commissioner Peggy Littleton, whose district includes the Park Vista area, thanked neighboring residents for their patience. “This is a really a unique situation and it has taken a long time to go through all the necessary steps to get a point where the court recognizes that the only solution is for the County to hire a private contractor to come in and remove these modular buildings. The Sheriff’s Office has been out here a number of times. These buildings don’t belong here. It’s not safe to have them here in this condition and unsecured and now the Sherriff’s Office tells us that they are even attracting criminal behavior. I’m sorry to see that we have problem like this that we have to spend county resources on, but I’m also glad to know that we’re finally going to take care of the problem and my constituents who live in this area will no longer have to endure the unsightly property and the safety concerns.”
R.E. Monks construction company has received the contract with a bid of $109,500 to demolish and properly dispose of the modular structures.
The County will place a lien on the property for the full cost to demolish and remove the structures, and any future sale of the properties will require release of that lien.