Contractor sues Garfield County over storage yard dispute
RIFLE, Colorado – A longtime local construction contractor is suing Garfield County over a zoning enforcement decision to shut down his equipment storage yard next to the Rifle Visitor Center.Wayne Rudd of Carbondale, who owns Rudd Construction, claims in a lawsuit that the county’s Board of Adjustment (BOA) overstepped its bounds at a March 22 hearing when it upheld a planning department finding that Rudd was maintaining a commercial operation in a rural zone district without a permit.In recent years, Rudd purchased two separate parcels in the Lions Park area northwest of the Rifle interchange on Interstate 70.The property had been used by previous owners as a “storage and contractors yard” dating back to 1978, and was considered a “legal nonconforming use” that pre-existed the current zoning, according to Rudd’s lawsuit filed April 20 in Garfield District Court.However, the county has taken issue with what it believes has been an illegal expansion of the facility over the years beyond its original scope, which it says is in violation of the revised land-use code of 2008.A cease and desist order was issued Nov. 13, 2009, based on Garfield County Planning Director Fred Jarman’s interpretation, as well as a ruling by the county commissioners, that the storage yard had expanded beyond the original scope, disqualifying it as a pre-existing use.Rudd disagrees, saying no expansion has taken place since the new zoning code officially went into effect in January 2009.”On the date of enactment of the 2008 Land Use Code, the actual use of the property as a contractor’s storage yard … was legal due to its status as a pre-existing, nonconforming use under the 1978 code,” Rudd claims in the lawsuit.Garfield County’s original zoning code, adopted in 1978, recognized pre-existing uses and allowed them to continue, he said.Rudd, through his attorney Tim Thulson of the Balcomb & Green law firm, is asking the court to override the BOA’s decision and to award legal firstname.lastname@example.org
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