County, not Mayo, trying to work things out
Post Independent Staff
Garfield County is poised to haul Bob Mayo into court over his non-compliant American Legion Hall building, but county officials are not saying when.
“We’re trying everything we can do to work it out with him,” said Garfield County Commissioner John Martin. “But we don’t have a timeline for going to court.”
Mayo, 72, admits to constructing a 2,400-square-foot building on his property northwest of New Castle without a building permit, or a special use permit to bring it into compliance with Garfield County zoning codes. He later opened up the building for the American Legion and other groups to use.
At Monday’s Garfield County Commission meeting, Mayo told the commissioners, “I can’t comply. I won’t comply.”
As he has stated in Garfield County Commission meetings before, Mayo said the county has no right to tell him what he can do with his property.
He also said the United States has a long history of grange halls and other public meeting places in rural parts of the country, and for the county to require a special use permit for his building is a violation of the public’s rights to gather.
“That’s our Constitutional right,” Mayo told the commissioners on Monday.
Last month, Garfield County gave Mayo a June 13 deadline to have a county building inspector look at his building, and to apply for a special use permit allowing a public gathering place in an agricultural zone district.
When he first started constructing the building on his 66-acre ranch, Mayo, a former contractor in Aspen, told the building inspector he was building a chicken house and didn’t need a permit. The building was dedicated as an American Legion Hall on April 23, 2002.
After Monday’s county commissioner meeting, Martin said it’s only fair that Mayo obtain a special use permit, because other property owners have to do the same thing when zoning does not allow for their desired uses.
“We’re bound to be fair and equitable, with our rules and regulations that are in place,” Martin said. “I’m in a pickle.”
American Legion Post 164 holds its meetings in the building, but Martin said the county will not ask for a cease and desist order to prevent them from meeting there.
Should someone be killed or injured in the non-compliant building, Martin said the liability would fall on Mayo because he is the property owner.
“But we acknowledge liability exists for us as well,” Martin said.
Assistant Garfield County attorney Carolyn Dahlgren was not available for comment.
Mayo has said he’ll give the building to American Legion Post 164 when it proves it can support and maintain the building, and pay the taxes on it. The special use permit and inspection are up to the American Legion after that.
“It’s OK for the Legion to comply after they receive title,” Mayo said.
Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534
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