The Saratoga Sun -

Bring down this wall

Encampment Town Council orders retaining wall built on street be removed, donates to play ball, increases water/sewer rates


Discussion became heated between the Encampment Town Council and Encampment resident Barry Cole during the regularly scheduled town council meeting at 7 p.m. on May 10 at the Encampment Town Hall. The discussion, which pertained to Cole’s retaining wall and its encroachment upon town property, revealed that Cole had constructed the retaining wall without building permits in 2003, around the same time he served on the planning commission.

“Barry, when did you do this?” asked Encampment mayor Greg Salisbury.

“The retaining wall, I think, was 2003,” replied Cole

“Why did you do it in the street?” asked town council member Bill Craig.

Cole explained the retaining wall, which stands approximately 2.5 feet in height, was put in to prevent the sloping of soil. He added he was under the impression that the street was abandoned.

“What I was hoping for is that we could come to some way of looking at this and monetize this property. I mean, what else are you going to do with it? It’s just sitting there, abandoned at this point,” Cole said.

“It’s a plotted street. It’s never been abandoned,” replied Craig. “I’m against allowing building in any alley or any street in Encampment.”

As discussion continued between Cole and the council, the matter of other properties in encroachment was brought up with the council pointing out that those properties were grandfathered. Decisions made by previous councils were also brought into question by Cole as he continued to defend his decision.

“This town was built way back and there’s things in there where people did whatever they wanted. My grandparents was one of the worst. They bought four blocks and that’s why my house is right in the middle of the intersection and they had to get most of the streets vacated and they had to pay for that vacation,” said Salisbury.

“What I was asking for-is there a possibility we could do the same thing with this piece of property because it’s not going to be set up as a street because it can’t go through your houses?” replied Cole.

Salisbury informed Cole the situation with his property had occurred decades before and Cole’s suggestion was not similar as it had occurred after ordinances were put in place. The council then directed Cole to remove the retaining wall from town property within a year’s time.

The town council also heard from Rachel Swanson, who informed the members that she was getting two baseball teams together for the summer. One team would be tee-ball and the other would be a machine pitch team. Swanson requested a donation of $250 dollars that would go towards clothes and equipment.

“I don’t know where all the equipment is, didn’t we used to have some in that one building?” asked Salisbury.

“If I may, last year I helped out with tee-ball. It was awesome, but as a coach I went through the equipment and 95 percent of the stuff is obsolete. Mice have gotten in and chewed on ear foam on helmets and a lot of it is just old equipment. It’s really beat up and in rough shape,” said Joshua Craig.

After discussion between the council, a motion was made donate up to $500 to purchase equipment and uniforms for the teams. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the town council heard from Deb Cunningham of Encampment Preschool, who thanked the council for their annual donations to the school. Cunningham told the council that she had three new families approach her about signing their children up for classes with the preschool and that she felt it provided an economic benefit to Encampment and neighboring Riverside.

The council also decided to raise rates on water and sewer for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. This raise would, according to town clerk and treasurer Doreen Harvey, help fill the budget for water and sewer especially in regards to the recent purchases of new aerator motors. The council voted to increase both water and sewer rates by two dollars.

With no further business to conduct, the town council adjourned. The next regular scheduled Encampment Town Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on June 14 at the Encampment Town Hall.


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