By Max R. Weller
Read the story from the Times-Call, copied below in its entirety:
The Boulder District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed a lawsuit in Boulder District Court seeking to have a home at 330 Collyer St. in Longmont declared a public nuisance.
Owner Silverio Nuanez, 74, was arrested last week on a warrant for failing to comply with terms and conditions of a drug possession conviction and remained in the Boulder County Jail on Monday when the case was filed.
Neighbors have been complaining about activities at Nuanez’s home for weeks, noting that police have raided the house three times looking for drug activity. During the most recent raid in December, police found 13 people in the house, including an infant. They characterized 330 Collyer St. as a flophouse and noted a bed bug infestation.
The lawsuit claims “the property, including the home located on it, is a place where known parolees and other congregate; where assaults and other physical disturbances, narcotics use and distribution and other illegal conduct occurs with unusual and increasing frequency and where neighbors reasonably believe themselves to be threatened in the use and enjoyment of their own properties and public places around the property.”
If successful, the suit would allow a judge to place restrictions on the use of the property, including who may live there or visit.
The owners are listed as Nuanez and the Estate of Elaine Maness. Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said Maness, who died in 2009, had been Nuanez’s wife.
The suit asks that the property be seized and closed and that the court limit occupancy to Nuanez, one blood relative, and any related children younger than 11, “and sharply limit who and how many people may come and go onto the property.” The suit asks that visitors be limited to no more than four non-residents at any given time, and prohibit anyone serving parole, probation, work release or community corrections from visiting or living at the home.
The suit is the second of its kind in Boulder County. The first was also in Longmont and, police say, the results were positive in the first case.
The suit against Nuanez notes that police have been called to complaints at the home 114 times since 2008 for a range of issues, like disturbances, assaults, trespassing, harassment, loitering, noise, and other issues. Police investigations included operations where drugs, like methamphetamine, were bought at the property, according to the suit. Some arrests were thwarted because there were so many people at the home that it was unsafe for officers, according to suit. Police used the SWAT team to raid the house in August 2011, October 2012, and December 2013.
It adds that Nuanez has admitted to the activities at his home and failed to call for help as police advised.
He told the Times-Call last month that he was complying with orders to clean up the house, which code enforcement confirmed, and he didn’t understand why his neighbors could have visitors but it was considered criminal if he did.
According to the lawsuit, neighbors have suffered fear, insomnia, and other mental stress from activities at the home. In one case, a brick was thrown through a stained glass window and caused more than $1,000 in damage. Neighbors have invested in fences and cameras to try to secure their properties.
“One neighbor has felt it necessary to teach her children self-defense techniques in order to ensure they come and go safely from their residence,” the suit notes, adding that all neighbors refuse to let children play outside.
St. John the Baptist Church, located across Collyer Street from the house, hired security and the guard reported routinely finding trespassers on the grounds using drugs purchased at Nuanez’s house. The church sought a restraining order against one man who routinely disrupted Mass and who was known to visit 330 Collyer St.
The church includes a school and staff reported seeing broken meth pipes and used syringes in and around the property. Raids at the home required lockdowns at the school.
Nuanez has 35 days to file a response to the suit in court or he could face a default judgement.
The Boulder District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed a lawsuit in Boulder District Court seeking to have this home at 330 Collyer St. declared a public nuisance. (Matthew Jonas/Longmont Times-Call)
Very important, because it could set a precedent for bringing a similar action against Bridge House, the transient magnet located at 1120 1/2 Pine in downtown Boulder, CO.
Bravo, Stan Garnett!