Perplexing property predicament in Carbondale
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Debbie Stafford received a call last Saturday from an Aspen-based attorney asking if she would be interested in selling a parcel of land.
Stafford had purchased this parcel near Carbondale in the late 1970s.
Stafford’s response was a blunt “No.”
The parcel of land in question is known as the Te Ke Ki Condominium Estates.
Stafford, a Colorado Representative from District 40 (Arapahoe and Elbert counties), said the land was subdivided and sold to individuals lot by lot. The land has been used for the past 22 years by the Considine family, owners of the neighboring Big 4 Ranch, for agricultural use, according to Big 4 Ranch attorney Herb Klein of Aspen-based Klein, Cote and Edwards.
Klein referred to the land as an “Ancient subdivision.”
“These things exist in various places,” Klein said. “Some local governments deal with these but they don’t meet any of the current zoning and planning rules and regulations. (Te Ke Ki) development would never be approved today.”
The land, with approximately 360 lots of around 5,000 square feet each, was platted for two separate filings in 1969 and 1970 under the Garfield County subdivision regulations at that time, according to Klein. Klein said the land, which is just east of Carbondale off County Road 100 and is bordered on three sides by the Big 4 Ranch property, has never been developed and currently has no infrastructure in place, including no water or sewer.
“A lot of people probably bought the property sight unseen,” Klein said.
The problem with developing the land, Klein said, is that the original developer never reached a settlement with the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad for an access point to the property.
“Basically the developers sold it out and left the land owners high and dry,” Klein said. “I would think that people would appreciate the fact that someone would buy something that has no use.”
But that’s not how Stafford sees the situation.
Stafford said that she was contacted by Madhu Krishnamurti, a representative of Klein, Cote and Edwards, on Saturday, at her home in Broomfield. Stafford claims that Krishnamurti told her that the Carbondale Corporation would offer her the assessed value of $4,050 for her 5,000-square-foot lot. Stafford said that Krishnamurti gave her an “ultimatum” to respond to an e-mail offer within five days, otherwise, an Adverse Possession case would be filed with the Garfield County Court. Colorado State Law states that Adverse Possession can be claimed on a piece of property that has been occupied by a person for more than 18 years, Klein said.
“They are using threatening tactics on everyone that purchased land there,” Stafford said. “(Krishnamurti) lied about the state law and she is intimidating me into selling my land. I call that theft.”
Krishnamurti did not comment on the allegations, but Klein said he had spoke to Krishnamurti and that she told him that no ultimatum was given. Instead, Klein said, Krishnamurti gave her five days to respond but offered her additional time if she needed it.
“(Krishnamurti) told her if she needed to have more time to think about the sale she would give it to her,” Klein said. “(Krishnamurti) said she did not say we were filing suit in five days.”
Stafford and her late husband purchased the property in the late 1970s with plans of building a retirement home.
Klein said that the Considines already have acquired about 70 percent of the lots and are interested in the remaining lots for the sole purpose of retaining it as agriculture and open space.
“Big 4 is trying to clean up the situation and use the land for agriculture purposes,” Klein said. “They have no plans to develop the land.”
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