The country is colliding with suburbia southeast of Denver, where Elbert County commissioners Wednesday unanimously passed a proposed law on rubbish.
Ordinance 11-01 passed by a 3-0 vote, setting up a May 11 second reading and vote on a law one county staffer said could "help our image" by addressing "accumulation and removal of rubbish, nuisances and junked/inoperable motor vehicles."
"I'm in favor. Yes I am," said Jane, who asked her real name and photo not be used. "Nobody's been out here longer than I have. It's been great out here -- 26 years. I have no complaints. Except people moving in and bringing their trash, junk cars."
She lives near 1122 Belgrade Circle, one of three properties passed along by commissioners Wednesday to the county attorney to enforce existing, but often ignored, zoning regulations prohibiting old tires and abandoned vehicles.
"I can't do anything," Jane said. "It's going downhill (here) because of new residents coming in from Denver. Everything's pretty cool. It's the outsiders that come in."
"It's up to the county then to step in, because that's government's job, is to enforce those property rights," said Kurt Schlegel, Elbert County commissioner. "It's not to infringe on anybody's property rights but we have to look at everybody's property rights."
Schlegel said the proposed law came about after complaints from neighbors like Jane but could also bother other residents who chose to live in the area because of the wide-open land and feeling of freedom.
"It's a fine line that we have to dance," Schlegel said.
The law would give neighbors a chance to file written, anonymous complaints with Elbert Count code enforcement officers, county employees or elected officials.
One of the two existing code enforcement officers would then go inspect the alleged violating property.
If he or she agreed there was a violation of the rubbish law, the homeowner would have 20 days to respond to the county and could choose a mitigation agreement to be completed within 90 days.
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