Council approves rockfall fence |

Council approves rockfall fence

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Ron Dickman, the man whose house was pummeled by boulders on April 6, won approval Thursday to build a rockfall mitigation fence on city land.

Thursday’s City Council hearing was Dickman’s second time through the process, the first being in February. But the approval comes too late to save his home, which was heavily damaged when two boulders rolled down the east face of Red Mountain, crossed Midland Avenue and pounded holes through the back wall of his house. His insurance company declined to pay for the damage, calling it an “act of God.”

Dickman requested a license to encroach on city land so he could build a 60-foot submarine fence on property above his house. He’s required by city ordinance to build a fence before he builds a house on another undeveloped piece of land near his house.

Council members were concerned that allowing Dickman to build a rockfall mitigation fence on city land would set a precedent allowing anyone with a potential rockfall hazard to build such a fence.

“I just don’t believe public property should be used for a private property development,” Councilman Larry Beckwith said.

Nearby property owners also expressed opposition to the fence.

“I’m so thankful that they’re all right, but I am against the fence, partly because of the animals,” said Lucille Fischer, who owns some of the hillside above Midland Avenue. “Are we going to have a new name for Glenwood Springs ” ‘The Wall?’ … I don’t believe we should mess up that pretty hillside up there.”

Ken Jaynes, an attorney representing Dickman, asked council to view Dickman’s request as a unique situation.

“I appreciate the history with this and what I’m asking is for you to appreciate the need for Mr. Dickman,” he said. “He sees a dire need and he predicted this; unfortunately his prediction has come true.”

Dickman spoke briefly in an attempt to convince council to approve his fence.

“Time is of the essence still today. I only have a piece of a house left,” he said.

With the destruction wrought by the April 6 rockfall fresh in their minds, three council members ” Dan Richardson, Bruce Christensen and Larry Emery ” changed their stance from the Feb. 6 council meeting on whether to grant Dickman a variance for a license to encroach on city property.

“I still think it’s going to be ugly, but the reality is, he’s doing the community a favor by doing this,” Councilman Bruce Christensen said.

Richardson also reluctantly changed his position from the February meeting.

“I think that, going against my better judgment, I’m going to go with my common sense,” he said.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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