Hayden man alleges harassment | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden man alleges harassment

Resident believes he is being run out of town

Gary E. Salazar

— A longtime Hayden resident is accusing Town Manager Rob Straebel of harassment for having Routt County officials check on property used to store gravel equipment.

Ed Hockin’s relationship has been strained with the town because Routt County officials were urged to check if Hockin is properly using land he leases from a railroad company.

Hockin, who owns Ed Hockin Trucking, leases land that borders the town’s limits and uses it to store equipment for his gravel pit company.

Hockin admits the equipment is an eyesore and is willing to work with the town.

“I’m in the rock-crushing business,” Hockin said. “Rock crushers are not beautiful. I use the land to store equipment and to stockpile gravel rock for distribution.

“Our town manager is harassing me about this property. There is no problem what we are doing down there.”

Because of complaints town officials received regarding the property, Straebel brought up the issue with the county in May.

County Manager Tom Sullivan is expecting a report from the county’s Planning Department regarding the property’s zoning.

“I have looked at the property,” Sullivan said. “There are no environmental or weed violations.

“We are checking to make sure the property is zoned for an industrial use. If it is zoned industrial, nothing he has on the property is out of line.”

Hockin, who has lived in Hayden for more than 30 years, is upset town officials mainly Straebel did not come and talk to him about the concerns the town has of the property.

Since May, Hockin said he has been the focus of harassment by Straebel, who denies Hockin’s charge.

To ensure he is following his lease agreement, Hockin checked with the railroad company.

Straebel defends his action of raising the issue with the county because it was not known if the property was in the town or in the county, Straebel said.

“I am here to enforce the town’s codes,” he said. “It’s a directive from the Town Board to implement these codes. We have been strict, and the town is looking better because of it.

“It was not known whether the land was in the county or the town. It has been determined the land is in the county. This town does not have jurisdiction over county land. From our standpoint, this is a county issue.”

From Hockin’s standpoint, he believes Straebel is to blame for causing him and his family to go through this issue and has a theory of why the town went after him.

“He is trying to run me out of there,” Hockin said of Straebel.

Straebel denies Hockin’s charge.

“It is certainly not my intention to run (him) out of town,” Straebel said.

Hockin is upset the issue even reached the county and wishes Straebel would have come and talked to him.

“I would gladly do what he wants, if he would have came and told me what to do,” Hockin said. “But instead he went behind my back.”

Straebel said he would have come to Hockin if the property in question was within the town’s limits.

“I would deal with (Hockin) if the land was in the town,” he said. “But it is not our issue.”

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