Appeals court upholds ruling against RFTA over Glenwood bus station
A 2016 district court ruling in favor of Alpine Tire Co. of Glenwood Springs against the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has been upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals.
RFTA had appealed the decision by Garfield County District Judge John Neiley awarding Alpine Tire owner Michael Sos $75,000 related to property damage incurred when the 27th Street Station was built. Alpine is located immediately south of the bus station and park-and-ride lot.
Sos claimed in a 2013 lawsuit that a large retaining wall built between the bus station and his business rendered a portion of his property unusable, unless he installed significant and expensive modifications.
The wall was built on RFTA’s property to support the elevated parking area that sits above the bus station. Sos’s attorneys, Balcomb & Green, argued that the wall increased the likelihood of drainage issues and debris coming onto the Alpine property, preventing Sos from using it for extra tire storage as he had before the bus station was built.
A specially appointed condemnation commission, which is similar to a jury, sided with Sos in late April 2016. In addition to the $75,000 award, Neiley had also ruled that RFTA would be accountable for Sos’s attorney fees and costs.
In its appeal of the decision, RFTA had asked the court to clarify the authority’s condemnation powers, and whether the damages were warranted since the construction did not result in any reduction in property value for Sos.
The Colorado Court of Appeals issued an opinion on Thursday reading, “The district court properly determined that RFTA caused compensable damage. … Further, the division rejects RFTA’s assertions concerning the trial court’s decision to award restoration damages, rather than damages equivalent to any diminution in value.”
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The city of Glenwood Springs has proposed investing $5.76 million for street improvements in the 2020 budget.