Tired of it, county will clean up man’s land
A 15-year battle between Mesa County and a property owner who piled up thousands of old tires northeast of De Beque has ended, and now county officials are preparing for the significant task of hauling away the tires.
Commissioners are expected Monday to approve an application for a $160,000 state grant to remove the junk from Stan Eisenach’s 17-acre property at 4700 U.S. Highway 6&24. The county expects to then seek reimbursement from Eisenach.
The county’s efforts to convince Eisenach to clean up his land date at least to 1996 when code-enforcement officers issued a cease-and-desist order for keeping a junkyard, according to Donna Ross, development services and code-enforcement director.
“This is one of the longer-term code-enforcement cases we’ve worked on for sure,” Ross said, adding Eisenach’s most recent estimate placed the number of tires on his property at 17,000.
Chief District Judge David Bottger in 2008 issued a summary judgment in favor of the county, but Eisenach appealed the ruling from Bottger and one from the Colorado Court of Appeals upholding Bottger’s order.
Eisenach exhausted all of his legal appeals when the state Supreme Court in December backed the Court of Appeals ruling.
According to court records, Eisenach argued the tires were intended to be building blocks for “earthship agricultural buildings,” and he had obtained building permits to use them. But the permits were pulled in 1996 and 1997 and have long since expired, and nothing has been built with the tires.
The Daily Sentinel was unable to find a phone listing for Eisenach to contact him for comment.
Should the county receive the state grant, officials will hire a contractor to dispose of the tires at recycling centers in Denver and Salt Lake City, Ross said.
The county hopes to learn whether it received the grant by the end of April. Work could start in early May and would have to be completed by the end of June in order for the county to be able to use all of the grant money.
Part of the grant request directs staff to try to collect money from Eisenach to reimburse the state for the cost of the cleanup.
Ross said she will work with the county attorney’s office to figure out the best way to do that.