GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A homeowner in unincorporated West Glenwood will have to stop renting out a downstairs apartment as he's done for the past 11 years, according to a ruling by the Garfield County commissioners on Monday.
Commissioners voted 2-1 to uphold the county planning director's decision to deny a request by Western Hills subdivision homeowner Franck Lemarie to bring his accessory dwelling unit (ADU) into compliance with county zoning regulations.
Western Hills, located north of Donegan Road between Mel Ray and Storm King roads, is one of the larger subdivisions in the West Glenwood area that's adjacent to but not within the city limits.
The 137-lot subdivision was created in 1958 before county zoning regulations were in place.
But the subdivision's creators did record a list of protective covenants that remain in effect, although an active homeowners association no longer exists to enforce them. Included in the covenants is a requirement that only single-family homes are permitted in the subdivision.
Planning director Fred Jarman said at Monday's meeting that he at first agreed to approve the ADU on a conditional basis. However, when the covenant restriction came to light, he reversed his earlier decision.
"Those covenants are still in effect and alive today, and are meant to preserve the single-family neighborhood up there," Jarman said.
Lemarie appealed the ruling to the commissioners, saying he should be allowed to continue renting the apartment as he's done since he bought his house on Ponderosa Drive in 2001.
"I didn't know it was an illegal rental," he said at the Monday meeting, adding that he decided to work with the county to "make it legal."
Lemarie indicated there are at least another half-dozen such illegal accessory units in the neighborhood.
Neighboring resident Dave Murray said signatures were collected from about 20 homeowners in the neighborhood who want to maintain the single-family, residential nature of the subdivision, as specified in the covenants.
However, another resident of the neighborhood, Shirley Bowen, said she supported Lemarie's request.
"Things have changed since 1958," she said. "I support his being able rent an apartment and provide some economical housing."
County Commissioners John Martin and Mike Samson voted to uphold the decision to deny the ADU, while Commissioner Tom Jankovsky dissented.
In another action item Monday, the commissioners:
• Approved a $15,000 funding request to support the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts Summer of Music series. The free concert series is slated for Wednesday evenings from June 26 through July 31.