Attorney claims city of Aspen ignoring resident’s complaints
Ryan Summerlin January 15, 2014
An attorney representing a landowner in the Oklahoma Flats area of Aspen is asking the city government to crack down on neighbors he claims have been a decades-long nuisance to his client.
Wandering dogs, abandoned vehicles and an unkempt lawn littered with belongings that overstep the property line are a few of the items lawyer Matt Ferguson details in an email to the city’s legal department. Ferguson also sent a copy of the email to Aspen’s two daily newspapers.
He said that over the years, there has been a “revolving door” of occupants involved in “obnoxious” and “illegal” activities at two nearby residences. Describing the lots as a “flop house,” Ferguson, who represents resident Denice Reich, alleges that the occupants have been involved in illegal drug activity and noise violations.
Ferguson’s letter cites public records identifying the lots’ owners. Ferguson, who has spoken with the owner’s attorney, Paul Taddune, said his understanding is that the occupants have a “live-and-let-live” mentality reminiscent of old Aspen. Taddune could not be reached immediately for comment Monday, and the identity of the occupants in question was not clear as of press time.
“Old Aspen, you know, we have respect for, but old Aspen should be clean and not disgusting,” Ferguson said. “We can put up with eccentricity, but this has gone way beyond that. You can live how you want, so long as it isn’t dangerous, disgusting and a nuisance.”
Ferguson said the Aspen Police Department has been responsive to phone calls from Reich but that the city’s legal department, which determined the issue to be a private matter, has been hands-off. He said Reich also has made calls to animal control over the years, concerning at-large dogs.
Ferguson alleges that transient individuals have been found sleeping on furniture set up in a city right-of-way, which he said makes it a public concern. Other issues include gym equipment and a swimming hole in the river, which has been established as a “permanent beach area,” equipped with umbrellas and lounge chairs.
“It goes far beyond any concept on NIMBYism,” Ferguson said. “It’s just rank, and it’s been going on for far too long, and for some reason, that property has been getting a pass. It may be because it’s an old-time location.”