Carbondale tree removal fine stands |

Carbondale tree removal fine stands

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” A change of heart by one Carbondale trustee who voted last month to impose a $5,000 fine on a business owner for the removal of several trees from public property was not enough to convince the town board to reverse the decision.

“I felt we were very harsh in the way we dealt with this business owner,” Trustee John Hoffmann said in asking the board Tuesday night to reconsider. “A punitive example isn’t helpful to the community …”

Carbondale trustees in January voted 4-1 to require Craig Rathbun and Dave Roberts, owners of Sunburst Car Care on Highway 133, to replace the three mature spruce trees that were within the highway right of way. The trees were cut down without a permit last summer, and several more were “limbed up” and eventually had to be removed.

In addition to the estimated $10,000 cost to replace the trees with several red maples, according to a replacement plan offered by Rathbun, the trustees tacked on a $5,000 fine to be paid into a general Highway 133 landscaping fund.

The town estimated the cost of the removed and damaged trees at about $16,000.

Hoffmann originally voted in favor of the replacement plan and fine, but said Tuesday he wanted to drop the fine.

Mayor Michael Hassig, who opposed the fine in the first place, allowed the matter to be revisited. But it was apparent Tuesday that the majority of trustees still favored the fine, and Hassig would not allow a new motion.

In a separate matter, the town is also asking Sunburst’s owners to enter a lease because a portion of their car vacuum system encroaches on the street right of way on Buggy Circle.

A building permit was not required when the vacuum system was installed last year, although a mechanical permit was obtained. However, trustees admitted it was partly the town’s fault for not overseeing the project more closely. So their willing to lease the small piece of property to the business on an annual basis.

Trustees at Tuesday’s meeting disagreed on the amount of the lease, however, and the matter was continued until the March 10 meeting when the business owners could be present to discuss the issue.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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