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Blighted property owner seeks help

Posted: Friday, Jun 14th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — Deloris Day needs your help.

Her rural Basalt Way home burned to the ground in February 2012, and today, the property is in violation of the county’s anti-blight ordinance.

County officials say she’s made some progress to clean up the land. But her property remains significantly blighted with inoperable vehicles, trailers and rubbish, according to Alamosa County Land Use Manager Juan Altamirano.

Day acknowledged on Wednesday that her property is blighted, but she asked commissioners to consider the extenuating circumstances that kept her from meeting the county’s timelines.

While neighbors and others stepped forward to help her clean up the land, she said that sandstorms, floods and freakishly cold weather last winter slowed them down.

So did her poor health, she said. She suffers from emphysema, and she was struck earlier this year with a painful case of stress-related shingles.

During that time, she said she never asked county officials to turn a blind eye to her property. All she wants, she said, is more time to bring the property into compliance with the county’s ordinance.

“It’s a slow process, but I’m doing it,” she said.

County commissioners voiced sympathy for Day’s circumstances, and they agreed to give her until Dec. 31 to remediate the blight.

Commissioner Marianne Dunne applauded Day and her friends for the work they’ve done so far.

Dunne suggested community groups or youth organizations might be able to volunteer their time this summer; she also tried to put Day’s mind at ease about the county’s actions.

“We’re here to help you, really, and to help the county overall look better,” she said.

Commission Chair Darius Allen made it clear that Day should not expect the county to step in and do the work. But officials will do what they can to solve the problem within a timeframe that works best for her, he said.

“We’re not unreasonable,” Allen said. “But we do have regulations we need to follow and guidelines we need to follow.”

Commissioner Michael Yohn said he appreciates the fact that Day is making progress with the cleanup. He urged her to press forward in the weeks and months to come.

“I do think that we want to get this done very diligently before next winter sets in,” he said.

If you or your organization would like to volunteer for the cleanup work, please contact the county’s land use or code enforcement offices at: 589-3812.

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