Owner to finish Fish Creek home

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— The unfinished house at 1170 Fish Creek Falls Road, an eyesore that has drawn complaints for years, is under contract to be completed.

Divorce proceedings between owners Joanna Maxwell and Curtis McCullough had held up construction on the house. But a district court hearing in October finalized the divorce and McCullough retained ownership.

Steamboat Springs City Attorney Tony Lettunich said the owner has contracted with a firm to finish the siding, roof and rest of the home.

Lettunich said work had already started after the district judge's decision.

McCullough, an employee of The Industrial Co., is working as an engineer on a mining project in Mexico. But his attorney, Kent Borchard, has said McCullough plans to complete the house.

Pink plastic covers the window holes on the home, which is very visible from Fish Creek Falls Road. Plywood sheathing has been left uncovered. The city received numerous complaints about the home, which was sometimes used by trespassers and vagrants.

Two years ago, Routt County Building Inspector Mark Marchus declared the house to be an unsafe nuisance. Marchus sent an abatement letter threatening to condemn and demolish the home if the owners did not fix it.

At that point, the courts got involved.

The couple went though a two-phase divorce. The dissolution of the marriage was first completed in Mississippi, but the judge was not willing to rule on the division of their material property in Colorado.

But at an Oct. 22 court hearing, the house was awarded to McCullough.

Now that the court hearing is complete, Lettunich said the city can seek to condemn the home if the owner does not act promptly to repair and complete it.

"At this point, the city can take action against the owner if it is not completed," Lettunich said. "The city was hard pressed to do that before."

It is a unique situation, Lettunich said. But if the house is not completed, the city could file charges.

"You really want to see them complete the house, and we don't want to tear a house like that down," Lettunich said.

The original building permit for the house was issued in 1994, according to records on file at the building department. A foundation was poured, but the work did not go any further. Framing work began in the spring of 2000. But construction came to a standstill when the failed marriage resulted in a local court order forbidding any further work on the home.

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