Legal & Courts  April 9, 2024

Boulder County officials sue property over homeless camp

LONGMONT — Boulder County officials have sued a company that owns a vacant parcel of land just south of the Longmont Sugar Mill site, accusing its management of failing for years to take steps necessary to clean up and dismantle a homeless encampment.

The lawsuit, filed by the Boulder County Commission members late last week, claims that property owner Clean Energy LLC has violated county land-use and zoning codes by allowing camping to occur on a parcel on 119th Avenue that is zoned only for agricultural and industrial uses. 

“In 2022, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office responded to complaints of illegal camping on the property,” the complaint said. “The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office posted the property and issued warnings to everyone on it, then the following week helped to remove the individuals illegally camping on the property.”

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As a condition of BCSO’s assistance, the lawsuit claims that Clean Energy’s management agreed to fence off the property and install no-trespassing signage. That allegedly did not happen. 

“On Aug. 9, 2023, the Longmont Police Department responded to a fire and explosion at an encampment on the property,” the complaint said. At that time, police officers found that about 15 to 20 people were camping on the site.  

Beyond owning the 119th Avenue property, it’s unclear what business activity Clean Energy LLC is engaged in. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, the company, representatives of which could not be reached for comment Tuesday, was registered by Stephen Thomas to a residential address in Denver. A Denver post office box is listed as Clean Energy’s mailing address. 

After the August 2023 incident, the lawsuit claims that county staff communicated with Thomas, who “admitted that there were homeless individuals living in an encampment on the property” and “acknowledged that he had not fenced the entire property or posted signs every 50 feet.”

Last month, Boulder County staff received another complaint from Longmont city staff about ongoing camping and related issues on Clean Energy’s property.

According to the complaint, Boulder County may issue a fine of $1,000, plus additional fines of $100 per day for “each day the continuing violations remain uncorrected on the property.”

The lawsuit is Boulder County Commissioners vs. Clean Energy LLC, case number 2024CV30310, filed in Boulder County District Court on April 5, 2024.

The condition of the Clean Energy LLC property as documented in February 2024. Source: Boulder County District Court documents

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Boulder County officials have sued a company that owns a vacant parcel of land just south of the Longmont Sugar Mill site, accusing its management of failing for years to take steps necessary to clean up and dismantle a homeless encampment.

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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