Routt County reaches settlement with owner of Oak Creek property that has too many junk vehicles
Steamboat Springs — Routt County commissioners are hopeful a settlement agreement formalized Dec. 27 with a South Routt property owner will eliminate the need to go forward with a lawsuit.
The agreement requires Tom Wisecup to clean up derelict vehicles and other trash from his property along Colorado Highway 131 in Oak Creek Canyon. The county has received complaints about the junk stored on the property for a period of years and asserts in a lawsuit, which was set to go to trial Jan. 26, 2017, that Wisecup is in violation of state statute and the county’s zoning code.
Wisecup, who was a tenant on the property when the county first began efforts to enforce its cleanup but now owns it, has shown diligence in the past toward cleaning up the site, Commissioner Tim Corrigan acknowledged Tuesday. However, large amounts of unused property, which was painstakingly inventoried by County Planner Alan Goldich for the purpose of the settlement agreement, remains.
“We appreciate you guys cleaning things up, and we’d appreciate not hearing complaints any more from your neighbors,” County Commissioner Doug Monger told Wisecup Tuesday.
Wisecup indicated he’s better able to follow through on the terms of the settlement now that he owns the property.
“I don’t care about my neighbors any more,” Wisecup said. “But I want it the way I wanted it from the beginning, and now, I have the final say-so.”
The site contains a large assortment of vehicles and equipment that have to go, including a red Dodge truck with no front end and a yellow forklift. Under the agreement, various vehicles and materials have different deadlines for removal ranging from Jan. 1, 2017, for portions of a flatbed 18-wheel trailer, to Oct. 1, 2017, for slab wood used to make corrals, and Nov. 1, 2017, for multiple metal tanks and engines.
The settlement also specifies equipment that may remain on the property, including a variety of pickup trucks with registrations, an old red tractor, a red dump truck and a variety of trailers used for hauling hay and horses.
The settlement agreement affords county officials access to the site to check on the clean-up process.
Thousands of tires removed
In autumn 2014, a portion of $17,000 made available to Routt County by the Colorado Waste Tire Program was used to remove an estimated 3,000 used tires from the property. The funding came from a $1.50 surcharge collected every time consumers in Colorado purchase a new tire.
Those tires were chopped up and used as fuel at a cement plant in El Paso County.
Assistant Routt County Attorney Lynaia South told the commissioners a district court judge must still approve the settlement, which requires Wisecup to meet the various deadlines and then maintain the orderly upkeep of the site for another three years.
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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a winter storm warning for much of the West Slope ahead of a major weather system expected in the area starting Thursday.