Lawsuit halts Celestial land use process |

Lawsuit halts Celestial land use process

Staff report

The owner of a cattle ranch next to a proposed controversial home in the Maroon Creek Valley filed a lawsuit Monday against his neighbor and Pitkin County.

The lawsuit contends that a landscape, grading and access plan submitted by the Celestial Land Co. in 2016 is invalid because it encroaches on land owned by the Roaring Fork Land and Cattle Co. That 2016 plan was different from activity envelope plans submitted and approved by the county board of commissioners in 2014, the lawsuit states.

Commissioners approved a more than 8,000-square-foot house on the property in 2014. The county’s Board of Adjustment allowed variances to the project after that approval that raised objections by neighbors.

County commissioners decided last month to remand the case back to the Board of Adjustment because it did not allow proper due process to opponents of the Celestial project during the hearing where variances were granted.

Monday’s lawsuit says that Celestial’s “activity envelope and site plan” from 2016 is “patently false, invalid and a spurious document …” Celestial must submit a new application for an activity envelope and site plan, the lawsuit contends.

Pitkin County, in turn, “intentionally or recklessly deprived RFLCC of its property rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States,” the lawsuit states.

The Celestial issue was set for public hearing May 9 at the commissioners’ regular meeting. However, the lawsuit put a halt to that process, said Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

County land-use rules require all work to stop on land-use applications when a lawsuit is filed, he said. That also applies to the Board of Adjustment remand, which was in the process of being scheduled, he said.

The stay in the process can be appealed, Peacock said.