Neighbors see brown over berm
EDWARDS – Fred Green doesn’t feel like he can win this battle, so he’s building a wall. That wall surrounds much of Green’s property adjacent to the Homestead subdivision, and the neighbors don’t much care for it.Green, a longtime valley resident and developer, owns 29 acres of land roughly between Homestead and Lake Creek. In 2004, he submitted a proposal to Eagle County to build homes on that land. The first proposal was for 27 homes, a number that was eventually whittled down to nine.Green claims county officials then tried to nearly halve that number.”The county said ‘we aren’t going to let you build more than five units,'” Green said. “Five just wasn’t economically feasible. By saying they’d only allow five units, the county essentially said you can’t develop.”So Green withdrew his plans, then went to the county’s engineering office for a permit to build a dirt wall along the boundaries of his property. Work started this spring, to the surprise of his neighbors.”I looked out one day and saw the trucks,” said Bonnie Vesey, a Homestead resident whose back deck is less than 50 feet from the earthen wall. “I called the county right away.”
The answer Vesey got from county officials wasn’t what she’d hoped for: Green’s berm was applied for, and granted through a standard process.”He met all the requirements,” County Engineer Helen Migchelbrink said. “This is just the way it works. There are no county regulations regarding height.”Green’s view is that since he’s apparently unable to develop his property, he’s going to preserve his own privacy. He’s lived in a home on the property since about 1979.”I decided since I no longer lived in a rural setting, I would develop the property,” Green said. Green said his original proposal had far fewer homes per acre than Homestead, and fewer than the Heritage Park subdivision, which is also adjacent to his property. When faced with what he believed to be a tacit denial of his plans, “I opted to protect myself from further visual encroachment,” Green said. Green has promised his neighbors the wall will be landscaped. I would rather look at the berm than look at houses,” neighbor Cindy Petrehn said. “I can see why he’d do it.”Neighbor Nancy Kerby feels differently.”It seems like we’re pawns in a political game,” Kerby said. “I’m just sick about his reasons for doing this.”
Kerby and other neighbors still hold out hope Green might reduce the size of the berm in its highest spots. Green, though, seems to be over the wrangling.”It disturbs everybody for me to do a modest development, and it disturbs everybody to preserve my views,” he said. “I’m in kind of an untenable position.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado
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