Family’s new house not yet home because of setback requirement


Tammra Stafford is 50 feet from home.

Fifty feet is how far Mesa County Code Enforcement says Stafford needs to place her new home from the neighbor’s property line.

In January, the modular home that Stafford and her family — husband Martin and four children — lived in for a decade burnt to the ground. On Tuesday, a new modular home was delivered
from Gering, Neb., to the Stafford’s 5-acre parcel at 927 20 Road.

But because of setback requirements, the old foundation, which is 7 feet from the neighbor’s fence line, cannot be used for the new structure.

“I did not ask for it. I did not ask for the fire,” Tammra Stafford said.

For the past few months, the family has lived in an apartment while working with Mesa County to get the property ready for their new home. Mesa County Code Enforcement told the
Staffords to rid the property of junk and several old cars, which the family has done.

Stafford said that on Monday, her mother went to get the final approval from the county. It was then the family said they learned of the 50-foot setback requirement. But by then their new home was in transit, to be delivered the following day.

“If we didn’t have that fire, my house would still be there,” she said. “We are going to have to move everything ... This is just silly.”

It is not silly; it is the land development code, said Donna Ross, director of county code enforcement.

“They were certainly not told that where they are placing the mobile home is OK,” Ross said.

The original Stafford home was placed on the property in 1991. It was allowed because it was replacing a home that had been grandfathered in under the old codes, Ross said. A decade later, codes were updated.

“There is a provision in the 2001 code that says when a building is replaced they must meet current code standards,” Ross said.

The new code calls for a 50-foot setback.

The Staffords have options. They could appeal to the Mesa County Board of Adjustments for a shorter setback. They also could ask their neighbor to move the property line, but because their neighbor’s house is also close to the property line, that option may not work.

A third option could result from the county’s current push to clean up and tighten the language in its land development code.

“We are looking at bringing a text amendment, possibly in September, to the (Mesa County) Commission, which would change (agriculturally zoned property’s) setback from 50 feet to something smaller, but certainly not 7 feet,” Ross said.

Stafford said it could cost her $30,000 to build a new foundation and move the utilities.


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