LETTER: County refusing to own the sinkhole mess it helped create
Ryan Summerlin May 6, 2014
During last Sunday’s downpour as I watched great chunks of earth disappear into the sinkhole that is now my backyard, a few questions came to mind for our commissioners.
In 1997, when they approved building on my lot with all the “major concerns and issues duly noted,” who overlooked two serious items that should have been included in that packet: the BOCC minutes dated 12/10/84 warning of “caving danger” in Rifle Village South and a BOCC letter dated 1987 warning residents not to go near what is now my yard because it was too dangerous? And whose idea was it, Mr. Martin, to approve building at the mouth of Helmer Gulch on alluvial fan soils (definition: to wash; sand, clay deposited by moving water)? And who thought that mere plastic would be a permanent solution against the mightier forces of gravity and moving water? Why did the assessor not recognize this drainage as private property back then, which could have circumvented this problem before it started? (Perhaps because it was not considered private until now when there’s a problem?) And why was a letter dated June 12, 1998, regarding this same drainage seemingly ignored that stated, “The liner was leaking and a culvert should be installed.” Hmmm, liner leaking, no culvert installed, yet, apparently, the work was signed off by the county — hence my house and sinkhole exist.
Why then, Garfield County, are you refusing to own this mess that you helped create and are forcing me to take legal action? Thanks, guys.