Terraces residents face eviction

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Residents living in building No. 1 of the Terraces condominiums will be forced out of their homes if repair permits are not secured by June 19, a notice from the city building department said.

Repair permits for buildings No. 2 through No. 6 must be pulled within 90 days or residents there will be forced out, as well. Buildings No. 7 through 12, so far, are considered by the city to be safe and stable.

Once those permits are pulled, the Terraces Homeowners’ Association would have 90 days to complete repairs.

The orders were fastened on doors throughout the six buildings on Tuesday “to the extent that life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered,” a statement from city building official Russell Grance said.

“Time isn’t on anybody’s side,” Grance said. “Cracks are getting worse, slippage is getting worse and nothing’s been proposed.”

Building No. 1 resident Jana Green, 18, saw one of the notices on a door Tuesday, prompting her to make phone calls to her landlord and to Grance’s office so she could figure out what’s going on with her home. Green said she’s concerned that she and her family, including her 7-month-old daughter Destiny Johnson, could be forced to move out in a month.

“I thought it was pretty ridiculous,” she said, adding that her bathroom door doesn’t close properly and her air conditioning is broken.

Green said it was difficult to find a home she could afford and she doesn’t look forward to the possibility that she might have to search again.

“It’s pretty scary,” she said. “This was pretty much the only thing around here and 30 days notice is not that long of a notice for us to leave.”

Grance’s office began to investigate structural problems with the Terraces in August 2002 after resident Aaron Hoffman – who now serves as the president of the Terraces Homeowners’ Association – informed Grance that building No. 1 was experiencing problems made evident by crooked door frames, stuck doors and cracks in the walls.

Grance said the building’s developer, Jay Harkins, submitted a remediation plan to the city a few months later, but the plan was rejected by the homeowners’ association.

Since then, ownership of the condominiums has changed hands from Harkins – who is now a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the homeowners’ association – to the HOA. Grance said that forces his office to deal directly with the association.

But in the months since the ownership of the condo complex changed hands, no repair plan has been submitted to the city.

Since the initial report showing structural slippage, geological studies of the buildings have determined that there is sinkage occurring to the lower tier of buildings No. 1 though 6. By Tuesday, Grance said, the sinkage problems had become severe enough to warrant posting the orders.

“Eventually there’s a potential for a collapse,” Grance said. “Also, we’re concerned about gas and electric problems.”

Grance’s office has hired Peightal Engineers of Basalt to monitor whether there’s any additional building sinkage and Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers of Avon to monitor gas and electric lines for breakage from the structural movement.

In addition to safety concerns, Grance said Tuesday that the order is meant to lessen the time it will take the Terraces Homeowners Association to submit a remediation plan for the buildings.

“It’s two-fold,” Grance said. “First, it’s for life safety. Number two, it’s to accelerate getting some kind of action plan from the HOA.”

Grance said his job is to be sure the city’s building code is being followed.

“I don’t think we’re looking at who’s at fault, I just want to be sure it’s safe,” he said.

Terraces HOA attorney Greg Hall said he found out about the city’s order on Friday and he wants to make sure the threat of possible evacuation is based on real danger and not just a ploy to get the HOA’s mitigation plan done faster.

“It raises questions as to the basis,” he said.

Those questions will be addressed at a meeting Friday between HOA members, Hall, Grance and other city officials, Hall said.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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