SILT, Colorado — The saga of Mark Anderson, a town resident whose yard was deemed too messy for town officials to let it be, apparently may soon come to an end.
Anderson, who lives at 230 N. Seventh St., across from Silt Town Hall, told the Post Independent that Municipal Judge Care (pronounced “carry”) McInnis on Monday authorized town officials to clean up Anderson's property and send him the bill for the cleanup.
Anderson noted, however, that the city crew is not expected to begin working on his yard this week, because of inclement weather.
So, Anderson reasoned, that will give him another week to do some of the work himself.
“They may work with me a little bit and allow me to continue,” he said of the impending cleanup. “At least it's some sort of temporary reprieve.”
But, he added, he is worried about the town charging more than he can pay if town employees do the work.
“I'm cash poor, and three months behind my water bill,” he told the Post Independent.
A 20-year Silt resident, Anderson had been given until April 1 to clear his yard of various stored vehicles, building materials, a semi-trailer and more.
“I'd made some progress,” he told the Post Independent on April 16, but he admitted that the town did not see things in the same light.
Anderson was first told he had to clear out his yard in June 2012, when town zoning official Janet Aluise issued a memo describing his yard as “brimming with scrap metal, trash, junk, rubbish and about two feet of fill [dirt].”
A July 12, 2012, Silt Police report called Anderson's property a “public nuisance” in violation of town ordinances that require property owners to maintain their property.
The town ultimately summoned Anderson into court, starting with a preliminary hearing on Dec. 17, 2012, and continuing with his conviction on Jan. 18, 2013, for violating town ordinances.
He was fined $1,300 and given two weeks to clean up his yard or have it done for him. Judge McInnis extended that deadline to April 1 at a hearing in mid-February.
Anderson, who said in February that he had not worked for some time due to a physical disability, said on Tuesday he hopes to clear out more of what he agrees is “junk” in the coming days.
After that, he said, he's not sure what will happen.
Anderson has retained a sense of humor about the situation, saying at one point on Tuesday, “I'm thinking God must be trying to tell me to leave. Either God or the town of Silt, whichever comes first.”
After pausing for a moment, he added, “I think we ought to turn [this property] into a church; if they can turn a bowling alley into a church ...,” a reference to plans by a regional church to buy the Burning Mountain Bowl and Sports Bar in New Castle and turn it into a house of worship.
They may work with me a little bit and allow me to continue