Neighbors call on Jefferson County to fix trash mess

EVERGREEN, Colo. -- A trash issue in a scenic part of Jefferson County had neighbors turning to the FOX31 Problem Solvers for help on Monday.

For months, people in Evergreen have been calling on Jefferson County's Planning and Zoning Department to do something about the issue along Evergreen Parkway.

The Center at Evergreen, home to a U.S. Bank branch, a law office and fitness center, is at center of the trash pileup. The waste is littering mountainside neighborhoods and wildlife areas.

"The thing that's been so annoying is that it's been ... seven months now," resident Ken Bland said.

Trash is routinely piled high in and around two dumpsters behind the businesses, according to neighbors. Strong winds have created a mess for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Everything from pizza boxes to large bulky items have been littering yards and a nearby creek bed, leading to major issues when it rains. In 2015, debris carried by floodwaters knocked out a bridge providing access to a neighborhood of 40 homes, according to Bland.

"[The damage was] directly related to debris," said Bland.

Bland and neighbor Jesse Anderson said they've made lots of phone calls trying to get the issue resolved.

"We've gone to the county -- it's a zoning violation," Bland said. "They're supposed to have a privacy fence [around the dumpsters]."

But months later, there's still no fence.

Jefferson County has issued fines and notices to the property owner, according to neighbors.

Jefferson County's planning and zoning director said he was not aware of the issue, but emails indicate top planning and zoning officials are aware of the issue.

"There always seems to be some new hang-up," said Bland.

For Anderson, it's more than a simple violation. This is something she expects the county and property owner to take seriously.

"Littering is a crime, and I think what they're doing right now is a crime," Anderson said. "They're not doing anything about it. I don't think animals need to be mixing with all of this trash."

People who live in the area are hoping the county and property owner ensure proper fencing and/or larger dumpsters are in place soon.

U.S. Bank is one of the main tenants at The Center at Evergreen. Calls to U.S. Bank's corporate office were not returned.

"We still don't have a resolution for a simple trash problem," Bland said.

Jefferson County spokeswoman Kate McIntire said she will look into the issue and have more information on Tuesday.

"Jefferson County has been working with the property owners on this case since issuing a zoning violation in May 2016.  The county filed a complaint against the property owners in County Court in June 2016, and soon after the property owners admitted to being in violation, and entered into a court-approved agreement to remedy the violations.  The property owners agreed to immediately make diligent efforts to keep the area around the dumpster clean, including regular pickup of trash and general maintenance.  The property owners also agreed to obtain a permit to construct an enclosure for the dumpster with a locking bar no later than Oct. 21, 2016.  Additionally, they agreed to construct the required  enclosure no later than Nov. 21, 2016.  If the property owners fail to meet these deadlines, they face a fine of $500.00.  Furthermore, due to the property owners’ apparent failure to comply with the agreement to make efforts to keep the area around the dumpsters clean, the County Attorney’s Office is in the process of filing a contempt action to enforce compliance."