LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – Mountain View Dairy Farm continues to resemble a scene out of the Wizard of Oz.
Since last September, an entire asbestos-riddled home and garage has sat on the front lawn of the Colorado dairy farm along County Road 9.
Farm owner Michelle Dickinson told Denver7 that her family has gone through the ups and downs of the dairy business at Mountain View Farm for the last 100 years.
She said the abandoned home is the last thing she needs in this “down” year.
“This is what I want to do,” Dickinson said as she tended to her cattle. “I don't want to be on the phone with the County and City, working on a problem that shouldn't be here."
Last September, Dickinson made a verbal agreement with a man named Gary DeJohn. She allowed him to leave the home on her property for “a few days.”
The promise of a few days quickly turned into weeks, then months. The situation even led to litigation.
In that time, Dickinson learned DeJohn of DeJohn Housemoving Inc. had already spent some time behind bars for a similar crime in 2016, involving the same house.
She also learned there were nearly a handful of similar issues that involved the house and DeJohn -- issues that were documented by the City of Loveland.
“He's a con man, obviously,” Dickinson said.
Nearly eight months later, Larimer County Code Compliance decided it wanted to break DeJohn’s bad habit.
“This is a first,” County Code Inspector Tony Brooks told Denver7. “It's so new to us to deal with something like this. We just didn't know what tools to use, so it took us awhile to figure out a direction to go.”
On May 1, the building was declared unsafe. The following day, Brooks posted notices around the abandoned home that explained DeJohn has 30-days to abate the asbestos and remove the buildings.
“If nothing happens after 60-days, the County will step in and mitigate the asbestos and demolish the buildings,” Brooks explained.
DeJohn would be responsible for footing the bill.
However, if that doesn’t happen, Brooks said the County will do what it can and has already applied for a grant to help with costs.
“If we don't get it, it'll be the tax dollars that will cover this cost,” Brooks explained.
Dickinson said she doesn’t want the bill to land in the hands of others, when DeJohn is responsible.
She said, “I'm not the kind of person that wants to put my problems on others, but I can't financially support doing it all myself.”
After an already “down” year for Dickinson’s dairy business, news of the County’s assistance is the one thing that is looking up.
“It's going to look so good, I’m going to clean it all up there,” she said about the land that will soon be free of the abandoned house. “We're going to take the box scraper - it's going to be really nice to see a problem go away.”
Dickinson has plans to put up a fence once the massive home is removed.