Squabbling neighbors shift issues, going from excavating to pigs
CARBONDALE – Neighbors took issue with the Vezzosos’ account of events leading up to the family’s lawsuit against Garfield County.Three neighbors say Bill and Kimberly Vezzoso’s unresolved lawsuit claiming the county violated their due process rights is frivolous and without merit.”Everybody thinks that it’s a joke,” said Mike Kennedy, an adjacent property owner who has lived in the neighborhood since 1982.Tension in the neighborhood seems to have increased. Bill Vezzoso has recently installed pig pens close to two neighbors’ properties to anger them and punish them for going to the county, neighbors say.Chris Beebe said a pig pen was put in only 30 feet from his well. Beebe’s wife Kelleigh Condon said it could be a health hazard.”The volatility of him as a person is pretty extreme,” she said. “It’s a pretty heated situation in the neighborhood.”Charles Cady, who lives nearby, said it’s unfortunate that neighbors who weren’t involved now have to deal with the smell.Vezzoso’s son, Bill Vezzoso Jr., said, “We have raised and sold livestock for 10 years. We’ve slowed down a bit over the years, but now that our rights are being attacked, we find it more important now than ever to establish our agricultural rights so that the county and our neighbors aren’t allowed to take any more rights away from us.”He said Kennedy was overheard talking about how he would shut down every business on Willow Lane starting with Independent Trucking, the Vezzosos’ business.”Our neighbors and the county continue to ignore our plan to restore our property, because it doesn’t fit with their plan to destroy our business and livelihood at any cost,” he said.In March, Garfield County Commissioners ordered the Vezzosos to stop an excavation operation on his property on Willow Lane near Carbondale. Neighbors told the county Bill Vezzoso was processing dirt and rock on his property, with excessive fumes, noise and heavy machinery that had all gotten worse over time. County staff found numerous zoning violations. The Vezzosos appealed the decision, but the county Board of Adjustment denied the appeal after a May 30 evidentiary hearing. The Vezzosos next filed a lawsuit against the county. They say a citation for zoning violations was dismissed in 1991 after an agreement was reached allowing them and others to have 10 pieces of heavy equipment per 5 acres of land, giving them vested property rights that the county violated.”Garfield County is certain that the Board of Adjustments’ decision was proper, supported by the totality of the evidence presented at the hearing and will be upheld,” said assistant county attorney Michael Howard via e-mail.Kennedy said it wouldn’t matter if the 1991 agreement did happen because it wasn’t a formal decision and no record exists. The county planner and county attorney at the time also have no recollection of the agreement, he added.”He’s claimed in hearings that this was an agreement made in the hallway between himself and (a former county commissioner),” Kennedy said. “Nobody else remembers it and there was nothing written down. It doesn’t matter anyway because any kind of agreement like that would require all county commissioners to vote and agree on it in a public meeting.”The Vezzosos say they have proof of the agreement including testimony by a person who represented a different excavator around 1991. But neighbors said the testimony has nothing to do with the Vezzosos.The Vezzosos have said the operation hasn’t changed in 20 years, but neighbors say it’s increased in size and scope. The operation became a problem in 2005, neighbors said, when Vezzoso began processing dirt and rock on the property and trucking it out. The Vezzosos’ assertions that they were just using it to smooth out their pasture to avoid drainage problems are false, they contend.Bill Vezzoso Jr. said that the dirt was part of a two-year reclamation plan presented to the county with Kennedy and Beebe present. The Colorado Department of Public Health found during an inspection that the soil for the pasture was associated with pasture reclamation, he added.The Vezzosos and the neighbors involved differ on numerous other details.”I’ve been here over 30 years and it was a pasture when I moved in,” Cady said. “He really doesn’t care. He just keeps doing what he wants.”Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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