Aspen man finally removes the junk from his yard
ASPEN – After a warning from city officials to clean up the junk in his yard, an Aspen man appeared before a municipal judge earlier this month for a ruling on the matter.
Mel Seid, who lives on Dale Street, was issued a summons Nov. 14 to appear before judge Ted Gardenswartz to prove that he had adequately addressed the charge of violating city code 15.04.420. The law prohibits the keeping of junk and is considered a detriment to the health, safety, convenience and general welfare of citizens.
Seid appeared in court Nov. 18, and showed before and after pictures of his property, which until recently was littered with old kitchen appliances, refrigerators, washing machines and other items.
Most of the property has been cleared of debris. Seid received approval from the city community development department to build a shed, where many of the items are now stored.
Gardenswartz determined that Seid had complied. The charge was dropped and the case was dismissed.
City officials in August issued a correction notice that mandated the property be cleaned up by Sept. 23. Seid was facing up to $1,000 in daily fines if he didn’t comply.
But Seid didn’t meet the deadline and his neighbors, who have been complaining to City Hall for years, were becoming increasingly frustrated. They said they feared that their complaints would be ignored and the snow would cover up the unsightliness for yet another year.
Mickey Spalding, the property manager at the Chateau Eau Claire, a condominium complex located on Cooper Avenue and directly across the Roaring Fork River from Seid’s, recently wrote a letter to officials inquiring about the Sept. 23 deadline.
Spalding wrote that the property was still full of “unsightly and potentially unsafe trash of all kinds.” He included pictures of the property, which were taken Oct. 27.
Spalding also asked if there would be a court date.
None of Seid’s neighbors were informed of the court date but said they are pleased with the results.
“He did clean up quite a bit,” said Eric Haynie, Seid’s next door neighbor. Haynie, who shares a common wall with Seid’s duplex, was mainly concerned with gas cans, propane tanks and car batteries on the property, which he felt created a fire hazard.
They are now apparently stored in the shed.
Seid couldn’t be reached for comment.
Jackie Wogan, who lives at the Chateau Eau Claire, said looking across the river, most of the items on the property have been removed.
Spalding said Friday that he’s not making any more effort toward the issue unless he gets a complaint from a homeowner.
“The issue is over,” he said. “The city doesn’t look at it the same as the homeowners association does.”
Stephen Kanipe, the city’s chief building official, said when a month had passed beyond the government-imposed deadline, it was time to address neighbors’ complaints with more fervor.
“I was over it,” Kanipe said. “I said you got until next Wednesday or your dealing with a judge, not me.”
Within days, the junk was gone.
“He took it all way,” Kanipe said, adding Seid told the judge that it felt good to remove the clutter.
Kanipe said he helped Seid build the shed during his off hours at City Hall in an effort to correct the problem.
“I wanted to make sure it was taken care of before the heavy snow,” he said.