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Counties call a halt to elaborate deck work

An elaborate network of gazebos and decks in Emma overlooking the Roaring Fork River has caught the critical eye of both Eagle and Pitkin counties.

Zoning officers from both county governments have issued stop work orders, commonly referred to as red tags, to property owner Martin Hageland.

Both jurisdictions are involved because the property straddles the Eagle-Pitkin county line.

Eagle County code enforcement officer Rudy Zitti said he cited Hageland for decks and gazebos on the riverbank that were built without a building permit. A fish-equipment shack on the upper lip of the riverbank was also constructed without a permit.

“He was advised on the fourth [of October] that he needed a permit for anything built in Eagle County,” said Zitti. “He chose to ignore that.”

Zitti issued a red tag on Oct. 25. He estimated there were up to seven structures, including decks, that were built without a permit. Deck construction doesn’t require a permit unless it exceeds a height limit.

Hageland was ordered to submit architectural plans by Nov. 30 for the work he had done and any he wishes to do. The building department will review those plans and determine whether the work should be approved.

Hageland is facing a penalty of an extra building permit fee, said Zitti. He will be charged four times the normal fee.

Pitkin County issued a red tag for work performed atop the riverbank at Hageland’s River Run Ranch. Zoning officer Ezra Louthis said an earth berm was constructed within the Highway 82 setback.

“They didn’t obtain any of the permits,” said Louthis. “He’s kind of refusing to cooperate at this point.”

Hageland also violated the Pitkin County Building Code by undertaking the work without a contractor’s license. A person can perform the work without a license if they intend to live there at least one year. But Louthis said Hageland informed him “his intent is to sell the property as soon as he finishes the work.”

Hageland said he intends to straighten out all issues with the counties shortly. He said he didn’t think he needed permits from Eagle County for the observation decks and gazebos, but learned after construction that permits were required.

Hageland said he has an architect preparing plans that will be submitted for review before the end of the month.

The riverside development created quite a stir in the midvalley. Basalt officials said they were bombarded with questions about the decks and gazebos, which are clearly visible from old Highway 82, now known as Two Rivers Road.

Zitti said the initial complaint came to his office from a neighbor of River Run Ranch. He said he couldn’t speculate on whether Hageland will receive approvals without seeing the plans.

He said that decks and gazebos are allowed in the zoning that covers Hageland’s property.

After being questioned about Eagle County’s stream-side regulations in the rural residential zone, Zitti researched the county code and found all structures are subject to a 50-foot setback. That could affect two components of Hageland’s gazebo and deck network, Zitti said. He is waiting for a survey from Hageland to determine how close the development is to the stream’s edge.


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