Vacant homes built too close together in Adams County get new windows before occupied homes

Proximity of homes is a fire danger

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - Adams County homeowners are still searching for answers about repairs nearly four months after 7NEWS uncovered their homes were built too close together in the Midtown Development outside Denver.

Construction crews are currently in the process of replacing and installing new fire-rated windows and frames at vacant homes that were in the process of closing. Meanwhile, some homeowners already living in the houses said they remain in the dark, still waiting for a written plan from the builder.

"We've heard nothing," explained homeowner Steven Klass. "All they said is that they're going to get the bugs out on the houses that aren't occupied."

The development follows a series of 7NEWS Investigations in January that revealed at least 16 David Weekly homes were built too close together in the new development located at the intersection of 68th Avenue and Pecos Street.

The homes were found to be in violation of International Residential Code, which requires sufficient spacing between homes to deter the spread of fire from building to building.

7NEWS found Adams County Building inspectors were unaware of the issue until late December 2013, months after some homeowners had already moved in.

The county incorrectly issued certificates of occupancy for those homes. Now, those same homeowners are waiting for required repairs to be made, while construction crews install new fire-rated windows on vacant homes in the process of closing.  

"Right now, you're in the dark?" asked Investigative Reporter Amanda Kost.

"Yeah," replied Klass.

The builder, Adams County, and the Southwest Adams County Fire Protection District signed off on a recommended fix for Midtown homes in violation of code more than three months ago. It required the builder to replace existing exterior bordering windows with one-hour fire-rated glazing and framing.

Then in February, Adams County denied the builders request to issue temporary certificates of occupancy for eight vacant homes until the properties were brought up to code with new fire-rated windows and framing.

Since the repairs were made, the builder said six homeowners have closed on their homes, with no immediate timeline for when the work will begin on the other occupied homes. 

The Area President of David Weekley Homes, Walter Watson, told 7NEWS windows have been replaced at one of the occupied homes and said they're waiting to coordinate what times work for the other homeowners.

Watson said some of the homeowners living in the occupied homes have chosen to wait until the weather becomes more predictable before having their properties repaired.

However, Klass said he has not been contacted with any information about planned repairs for his home. As construction continues on homes nearby, he's keeping a close eye and said he is now worried that the new fire-rated windows will drastically change the appearance inside and outside his home.

"When you're inside it's a big difference," said Klass. "I mean the minute you walk into the room; you notice that it's two different types of windows."

Klass said the replacement windows are commercial grade and appear darker, and more reflective than the glass currently on his home's exterior windows. 

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