Resident protests water problems

CRESTONE— Baca Grande resident Daniel Gray, an owner/builder in the Baca Grande Subdivision, is protesting fees charged to him by the property owners association (POA) after he accidently severed a water line while digging in the Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District’s (BGWSD) right of way.
Owner/builders have experienced hardships in the Baca in meeting what they believe are unfair and discriminatory fees, and some have even claimed that excessive fees have been established to allow only the wealthier property members to build in the area. One property owner served the POA with a cease and desist letter dated Oct. 16, alleging conflicts of interest involving the POA board as well as several violations of the Equal Housing Opportunity Act.
Gray explained his problems with the BGPOA water and sanitation district in the following email:
“I paid all my Baca Grande Water & Sanitation District tap fees and called Colorado 811 Dig. The District sent out their newest and youngest employee to guess where their water lines are. Two different times I called the District to change my digging status, and [had] no response from them in over five days.
“Well after five days I was digging in the ‘right of way’, which is my right to do. I, or anyone else does not need the District’s permission to dig in the right of way. And so I hit their water line seven feet from their markings, and ever since the District’ has been withholding my water that I paid for.
“I had twice the amount of liability insurance as the district requires, the porta potties were late because the RMS’s truck broke down, and one time they could not find my lot. Lastly, I have been in the landscape construction business since 1985; I learned excavating, sewer and water installation in the early 1970’s.”
Gray took the matter to small claims court and sued the Water and Sanitation District but the BGWSD says he failed to show up for the initial hearing. Gray said he had notified the district he was withdrawing the claim and also had notified the court the day before the hearing that he was not pursuing the claim and would not be appearing for the hearing.
The BGWSD attended the hearing, Gray being absent, and the judge granted them the requested $7,500 judgment against Gray. Gray then motioned the court to enter a new ruling and reconsider the previous court order.
In the minutes from the Sept. 29 BGWSD board meeting, the BGWSD also suggested asking the court for attorney fees. Possible consequences for Gray would include a lien against his property for any judgment against him or a sheriff’s sale of the property to satisfy the lien.
Gray indicated he has not heard anything regarding his motion to reconsider.

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