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Black Forest homeowners want voices heard

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Aug 28 2013 10:17:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 28 2013 11:49:06 PM CDT

There is concern that the county will have too much say over their lives. Black forest homeowners want to make sure their voices are heard. Two subcommittees met on Wednesday to go through recovery efforts.Residents worry the county will take too much control.

Black Forest, Colo. -

There is concern that the county will have too much say over their lives. Black forest homeowners want to make sure their voices are heard. Two subcommittees met on Wednesday to go through recovery efforts. Residents worry the county will take too much control.

The Addingtons lost their home in the Black Forest fire. Mary Addington's worst fear is the county will dictate how she and her neighbors rebuild.

"You just don't want the rich telling us what to do,” said Mary Addington.

She wants to make sure the county won't change what Black Forest is known for: independence.

"They're really trying, but I think sometimes you have too many hands on too many things and the focus isn't done a lot of times exactly where it should be,” said Black Forest homeowner Sharon Keeser.

Sharon's big problem is how the county is handling flooding.

"And it just came through here like a river, came all the way down here to the garage and it split into rivers,” said Keeser pointing to both sides of her house.

Keeser has lived in Black Forest for 43 years. Her yard is nothing like she remembers.

"They keep saying they do, they know that these are issues, but since the last flash flood which was on August 4th, I haven't seen the county along Shoup Road doing anything,” said Keeser.

El Paso County is assessing the problems and evaluating solutions. Commissioner Amy Lathen hopes she can bridge the gap.

"It was mentioned in here the engineering criteria manual that dictates certain things like culverts and driveways,” said commissioner Lathen. “And in some cases, it does not make sense on the land. And I want to see us have the flexibility to be able to go out there and say this is not necessary.”

But it'll take serious convincing for homeowners.

"Talk's cheap. We'll see. I'm from Colorado, but maybe I'm from Missouri: show me first before I can trust that,” said Addington.

Commissioner Lathen wants homeowners to call her with any issue so the county knows what's going on with everyone in Black Forest.

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