County again investigating Andlinger work
Less than one month after settling a dispute over unpermitted construction work, Gerhard Andlinger is being investigated again by Pitkin County officials.
The county discovered last week that a septic system was expanded at Andlinger’s East Sopris Creek estate allegedly without a permit.
County officials acknowledge it’s not the sewage work that is causing a concern. The septic system can handle the additions and the work hooking them up was performed adequately, said Karla Block, senior environmental health specialist.
Instead, the stink was raised by Andlinger’s alleged repeated disregard for the process. Andlinger was given a “cease and desist” notice even though the work has already been performed, according to Cindy Houben, director of the Pitkin County Community Development Department. He may be required to appear at a “show cause” hearing and, if found in violation, charged a penalty fee, she said.
Andlinger, an East Coast financier, ended his first dispute with the county on Oct. 9 by admitting he violated the law while building his home. Andlinger agreed to reclaim a sloping field that was flattened by crews working on his house and restore wetlands disturbed for an unpermitted water line trench.
Andlinger initially battled the county in a permit revocation hearing. After two hearings, Andlinger dropped his dispute. He agreed to the restoration work and to post bond to cover the costs.
While that dispute was being settled, a new one was taking shape, according to county records. Block said she received an application for a permit to expand the septic system in late September. While reviewing that application she received a notice from Andlinger’s engineering firm that the septic addition had already been built.
Andlinger had a permit to use a septic system to serve his 7,500-square-foot main home. After that permit was issued, a sink, water fountain and washing machine from an adjacent barn were hooked into the septic system without a permit, Block said.
There should have been no confusion that the expansion required a permit, according Block. It’s a common step required in the construction industry, she said.
But there was apparently confusion among the contractor, installer and engineer over who was supposed to obtain the permit ? at least that’s what they told county officials. “Somehow in this process the ball got dropped all around [among them],” said Block.
The contractor on the Andlinger project is Norris Homes. The engineering firm is High Country Engineering of Glenwood Springs.
Block said she hasn’t issued a permit yet because she is awaiting direction on how to address the unpermitted work from her superiors.
“The Board of County Commissioners is interested in talking about it,” said community development director Houben. No meetings are scheduled this week due to the election, but it could be a topic of discussion during commissioner meetings in the second week of November.
The violation could potentially affect the contractor’s license to do business in Pitkin County, Houben said. The contractor had been on probation for unpermitted work in the earlier Andlinger case, but that probationary period had expired when this latest infraction allegedly occurred.
A message left for Norris officials at the Andlinger job site wasn’t returned Friday. Tom Smith, a local attorney for Andlinger, started a vacation Friday. His partner, Fred Peirce, said the firm was unaware of a current Pitkin County violation notice and, therefore, couldn’t comment.
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