Mt. CB moving forward with repair of landscaping on private property

“Whether we build it or not is not the issue”

The town of Mt. Crested Butte is getting ready to do some landscaping to fix a controversial retaining wall built on private land, at the request of several neighbors of the property who say the wall was not approved properly.



Part-time Mt. Crested Butte resident James Maxfield has a second home on Paradise Road, and obtained a permit from the town in 2007 to construct a retaining wall that would be used to level out his property.
When the wall was finished last year, several neighbors complained to the town that the structure, made from wood siding and cement posts, was an eyesore, and queried whether the town followed the correct procedure in approving the permit.
The town argued that the correct procedure had been followed for the construction of a retaining wall on the south side of the property. However, Maxfield had started building a retaining wall on the west side of the property, which the town said was not properly permitted.
In order to appease the concerns of neighbors and avoid a costly legal conflict with Maxfield, the town decided earlier this year to go ahead and replace the wall with something more aesthetically pleasing.
During a Planning Commission design review on July 8, Mt. Crested Butte community development director Bill Racek said the staff, working with Maxfield, had developed a plan to replace the existing retaining structure with a boulder wall no more than four feet high, following the south and west property lines. The southern wall was originally on the property line, while the west wall was being constructed in between the property line and Maxfield’s residence.
“The principal reason we’re putting the walls on the property line is Maxfield’s insistence,” Racek said.
Planning Commission chairperson Dusty Demerson noted that the original south wall was permitted, but the west wall was not. “I think he overstepped the boundaries of the permit he was issued… why not just remove the [west] retaining wall?” Demerson asked.
Racek said he didn’t want the town to get in a confrontational situation with Maxfield, and chose the path of least resistance.
Town attorney Rod Landwehr agreed with Racek and said litigation would be a “nightmare.”
“Whether we [build] it or not is not the issue before you—that’s an administration issue,” Landwehr said.
According to a memo from Racek, it will ultimately cost the town about $6,000 to put the new wall in place.

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