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Mini storage project causes major headaches

Jeremy Heiman
Special to the Post Independent
Post Independent Photo/Jim NoelkerA construction project near Cardiff has some residents concerned about property access.
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A construction project has been raising some eyebrows in Cardiff, an old village on the south end of Glenwood Springs.

Both the developer and city staffers say it’s all on the up-and-up, but neighbors say the proper processes were not observed.

Landowner Mike Alsdorf has started road construction at the intersection of County Road 160, also known as Cardiff Road, and an unnamed street that runs to the northeast.



Though the work is being done by agreement with the city government, which has jurisdiction over the road, nearby property owners complain that the road work may prevent access to their property.

Alsdorf has also started to build a mini storage complex, which he said will have 87 units. The complex will consist of two large storage buildings aligned along Cardiff Road and a small maintenance building at the back.



Building cuts across unnamed road

But the work threatens a section of the unnamed gravel street that short-cuts diagonally across the corner of his property, at 0068 County Road 160.

The official site plan for the project shows the corner of the storage building nearest Cardiff Road will stand about three-fourths of the way across the diagonal road. Alsdorf said the city has asked him to build a T intersection to replace the diagonal.

Ron Myers, who owns a house and auto repair business at the intersection, said the diagonal road has been in use for at least 18 years, and perhaps as long as 30 years.

Myers said the road exists to accommodate tractor trailers that serve an office and four-acre storage site owned by Kinder Morgan Energy, and a storage yard for airplane parts owned by Cardiff resident Dave Force beyond the Kinder Morgan property.

“Tractor trailers won’t be able to make this turn,” Myers said. Further, he said, adjacent landowners were not given notice of plans to change the intersection.

Force, contacted Tuesday by the Post Independent, said his attorney advised him not to comment.

“There’s nothing I could say at this point,” Force said.

Reasonable access must be retained

Robin Millyard, Glenwood Springs director of public works, said the city owns a 45-foot-wide right of way for the unnamed road that intersects Cardiff Road. The city, he said, would make certain the streets provide adequate access to all property they serve.

“Our goal is that all those roads out there have adequate turning radiuses, and everyone has access to their property,” Millyard said.

Millyard said he has asked Alsdorf not to do anything with the diagonal road, which he calls the “westerly leg,” until the issues are all settled legally.

“I think the city has to work cooperatively to make sure there’s access for everyone out there,” he said. “Kinder Morgan has the right to reasonable access. We want to make sure this is maintained.”

That may not be the case right now, Myers contends. He said the driver of a Kinder Morgan tractor-trailer flatbed tried to get his rig down to the Kinder Morgan building Tuesday without using the diagonal leg, and could not turn the corner.

Quit claim deeds traded in 2002

The city annexed the two streets in question in 2002, Millyard said. In the same year, he said, Alsdorf and the city negotiated an agreement to tidy up the titles to Alsdorf’s property and the city’s rights of way in Cardiff.

Alsdorf, describing the same action, said he and the city mutually agreed to quit claim everything outside their respective boundaries. The action guaranteed for the city any disputed property within the street rights of way, and cleared Alsdorf’s title to the land within his surveyed boundaries.

As part of the deal, Millyard said, Alsdorf deeded to the city a triangular 1,024-square-foot piece of property along the unnamed right of way to the east of his property.

The diagonal leg of the unnamed street, Alsdorf contends, cuts across his property. But the neighbors believe it’s a public right of way, and don’t understand why the city of Glenwood Springs decided to give it up.

Myers pointed out that Valley View Hospital had to have voter approval to close 19th Street for its current expansion project.

“But Alsdorf did this without even asking the people who use it,” he complained. “This road’s an established road, and you can’t be shutting down roads.”

Building permit approved by Garfield County

Both streets were Garfield County roads until June 2002, when the city annexed them. Alsdorf’s property remained in unincorporated Garfield County, though the entire remainder of the Cardiff neighborhood has been annexed to Glenwood Springs.

But Jim Neu, Alsdorf’s attorney, said no back room deals were done.

“That’s ridiculous,” Neu said. “I was in front of the County Commissioners, and I was in front of the City Council.”

He said Alsdorf went through a public process with the city to clean up his title and to get approval to close the road, and got approval to build his mini storage complex through a public county process.

Steve Hackett, Garfield County’s code enforcement officer, confirmed that Alsdorf’s project is legitimate.

“We require proof of ownership, and we know Mr. Alsdorf owns this property,” he said. “Also, he’s building within the setbacks. Those are the things we require.”

Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext. 534

jheiman@postindependent.com


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