Base area boiler shed is focus of lawsuit
Structure reportedly roofed without permits, encroaches on land
January 6, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been corrected since its original publication. Roberts, not Towers, chose not to comment on the lawsuit. A phone number for Towers could not be found.
A boiler shed at the base of Steamboat Ski Area is at the root of a dispute between two landowners, the city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs City Council.
The shed, partially built in 2005, has come under scrutiny since it was roofed in 2008, and the case is headed for a court date in July if the dispute is not resolved before then.
According to the civil case filed in September in Routt County Court by Habitat Design and Construction Co., owned by Michael Roberts, the building encroaches slightly on the lot owned by Habitat, in the 2500 block of Ski Trail Lane. The building and the property it primarily sits on are owned by Longwood Investments, a company owned by Michael Towers.
In fall or winter 2008, Longwood reportedly added a stone roof onto the shed. Habitat objected, and the city "red-tagged" the boiler because the city did not issue a permit for the improvement.
The city's Board of Adjustment, a body that decides whether to allow variances, denied Longwood's after-the-fact request to add the roof to the structure, and Longwood appealed to the Steamboat Springs City Council.
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Minutes from the Aug. 4 meeting state that the board confined its discussion to the roof only and did not take up the issue of whether the building encroached on another plot.
Council members ended up voting, 5-2, to allow the roof, with City Council members saying the roof improved the structure because it blocked some of the sound and made it look more attractive. Council members Meg Bentley and Steve Ivancie opposed the motion.
City attorney Dan Foote said two surveys of the property don't agree, and it's not clear whether the building stretches across the property line. The lawsuit states that the building and boiler equipment extend across the line less than a foot.
Habitat filed the civil case in September for two purposes: to appeal the decision by the council and to seek damages from Longwood.
Foote said no money is at stake from the city. The lawsuit seeks damages and costs from Longwood but does not specify an amount.
"This is really the city getting caught in a dispute between two neighbors," Foote said.
Council member Walter Magill said Tuesday that the council had been told about the lawsuit and decided to uphold its decision.
Roberts, reached by phone Tuesday, said he did not want to discuss the case because it is ongoing. A phone number for Towers could not be located.
If the case proceeds to trial, it will be heard July 29.