Barb wire battle ends in Minturn
Vail, CO Colorado
MINTURN ” They wanted Frank Lorenti’s barb wire fence taken down. They got it.
Trespassers snowmobile through his property and gouge his driveway, Lorenti said, so he put up the barbwire around his home on Main Street.
“It’s not like I’ve got prison roll barbwire fence around my compound,” Lorenti said.
Town staffers disagreed, citing concern about public safety. After a protracted fight, they may have won the battle Wednesday night when Lorenti agreed to remove his fence.
On March 21, town councilors unanimously approved an ordinance that outlaws barbwire in Minturn. Citizens had been complaining about barbwire, said Allen Christensen, the town’s attorney.
Staffers asked Lorenti to remove the fence weeks ago and he refused, added town manager Ann Capela.
Then police hand delivered a letter from Capela to Lorenti stating that the council may take action on the “endangerment to the health and safety of the human environment for Minturn residents and animals from a barb wire fence” on Lorenti’s property.
So far, the ordinance hasn’t been controversial, Christensen said.
“Barbwire has use for cattle, military and prisons, but I can’t think of a lot of uses for it in municipalities,” Christensen said.
Minturn has yet to remove its barb wire fences next to its water tanks, Capela said. Capela has been getting estimates and wants to hire the lowest bidder, at $2,250.
Town staffers were afraid someone would injure themselves on Lorenti’s barbwire fence, they said.
“Have you ever seen anyone who has run into a barbwire fence? I grew up in the Midwest. I’ve seen people who have run into them,” Christensen said. “It’s not pretty.”
Lorenti installed his fence well before the ordinance was enacted, he said.
Police have never done anything when he called about the trespassers, he said.
Chief Lorenzo Martinez of the Minturn Police Department was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.
He put up “No Trespassing” signs, but they didn’t work.
So, Lorenti blocked snowmobilers from entering U.S. Forest Service property through his property, but not from entering the federal land, he said.
“It’s only 20 feet farther to where the trailhead is,” Lorenti said.
Lorenti worried that an errant snowmobiler would run into a customer’s car at his home, where he runs his business.
“I got a customer’s car parked here and somebody comes across and hits it ” what recourse do I have?” Lorenti said.
Councilors wanted to get rid of all barbwire in Minturn so they refused to grandfather fences like Lorenti’s, according to council minutes.
“We don’t have any cattle in Minturn,” Christensen said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or email@example.com.
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