Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Nellie Nibnose

Moratorium inspires new county regulations


Nellie Nibnose

As this photo clearly documents, Gunbarrel has its fair share of potholes. Even if the county doesn’t “fix” the roads, at least fill them in. If you live in a subdivision with potholes, send us a picture. Email Editorial@lhvc.com and we’ll publish them. No fooling.

April 1 – In what the county commissioners feel was a bolt of inspiration from the now seven-month-old building moratorium imposed on Old Town Niwot, that august body is now considering something similar for all houses in the county.

Commissioner D.B. Farmer said, “We looked at the effect of the moratorium on Niwot and how it promoted such constructive, genial communications between the different streets, neighbors, businesses and homeowners. It was all good.

“The whole experience made us realize that there is more work to be done,” she intoned.

The upshot of this realization will be equivalent to the “shot heard ’round the world.” The new regulations will affect everything from fencing to furnaces and roads to real estate.

The commissioners have developed a four-pronged attack on out-of-compliance county residential units:

1. Having learned their lesson on fencing that encroaches public land from their experience with Niwot’s fabled alleys, the commissioners have commissioned a fencing review where owners will verify that all fencing is on the correct property. If homeowners don’t provide certified reports from licensed surveyors, the county has an army of surveyors who will gladly do the job. The bill will be mailed to the homeowner.

2. It has come to the commissioners’ attention that there are many houses in the county that have more square footage than what’s represented on property taxes. This is pursuant to land use text amendments to articles 7, 13 and 19 of the land use subdivision non-exemptions for plats and buildings. What the commissioners fear most is that homeowners have taken remodeling and renovating as DIY, not pulled a permit and removed walls, thereby creating more square footage.

To remedy this untenable situation, the commissioners have commissioned land use to have employees go door-to-door to verify square footage, number of bathrooms and closets, to make sure that all houses are in compliance with county codes and that square footage is as listed on the assessor’s property report. Additional square footage will be taxed at a rate equal to or higher than the current rate. They also will be looking for illegal hot tubs and barbeques that don’t meet county standards as well as high-water use flush toilets.

3. While inside the house, they will also be inspecting furnaces and air conditioners for energy efficiency. Any of these appliances which are deemed too old or inefficient, will be red tagged, with a notice sent forthwith to upgrade within six weeks. Garages which lack an outlet for charging electric vehicles will also be tagged. Extensions due to vacations, weddings or bar mitzvahs will not be allowed.

4. The commissioners have a fix for county subdivision roads. In a longstanding battle with suburbanites, the county has decided to run a road-grader down streets with more than three potholes of six inches in depth and eight inches in width. The subdivision is then free to either pave the roads or leave them as is. Since most people in the county drive SUVs or have four-wheel drive, the constant driving of these vehicles over the torn-up asphalt will tap down the upended pavement, much as chip seal does.

Farmer said they are shortening the review process by not mailing out the customary notices and instead are disseminating the information on all Nextdoor apps in the county. Trolls who object to these new regulations will be identified and summarily taxed at double the rate.


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