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The town of Morrison has demolished what was left of the historic Horton House at the corner of Canon Street and Park Avenue that was destroyed in a fire in 2015.
Even so, California resident …
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Even so, California resident Daniel Powell, who purchased the property nearly two years ago, said he still wants to renovate the site and intends to live there but has found the planning process stressful and confusing.
“I’m a little bit lost,” he said.
The Morrison Town Board debated what to do with the property several times during its meetings. Eventually, the town ordered Powell to clean up the property, and when he didn’t, obtained a court order that required demolition. The main home was demolished by the town in June.
In addition to being a nuisance for neighbors, there were concerns about safety since the burnt-out home sat untouched for years, according to Town Manager Kara Winters.
“Essentially, he was asked to clean up the property — basically demo the main house,” Winters said.
According to information prepared by Morrison Town Clerk Lyndsey Paavilainen, the home, built in the 1870s, once belonged to James and Amy Abbo of the Abbo & Lewis Livery and Carriage House buildings and Frank Luce, a Morrison doctor who served his clients on a horse-drawn carriage. The Carriage House is still standing.
In 1994, longtime Morrison resident Lila Horton opened the Horton House Bed and Breakfast, a quaint spot filled with antiques and artifacts sourced from old Morrison homes. However, the Horton House and many of its historic treasures were destroyed in October 2015 when a fire broke out due to an unattended candle. Horton did not have fire insurance. Though she did raise some money for restoration, not much progress was made.
Considering he was born in 1959, Powell said he was eager to restore a home nearly 100 years his elder.
“My intent is to take the historic main house … and renovate it, bring it back to its old glory,” he said.
Since purchasing the property, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth between Powell and town officials as he works to develop plans that the town will accept. The town was curious to know what he intended to do with the property, so Powell said he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing plans.
Winters said she and Town Attorney Gerald Dahl met with Powell and outlined exactly what needed to be done. She said they didn’t require him to spend money on architectural designs but wanted to know general concepts.
“It’s just really up to him as kind of a timeline of if (and) when he wants to turn documents in,” she said.
Powell explained: “I was spending a tremendous amount of money, submitting plans … but I realized that I didn’t want to invest money on a property that wasn’t fully on land that I owned.”
For that reason, earlier this summer, Powell requested a partial vacation of the right-of-way adjacent to his property. The town board considered it and discussed potential conditions but ultimately denied his request.
“You have to demonstrate some reason why the town wants to give up these rights, and that has not been done in my mind,” board member Paul Sutton said in the June meeting when the matter was discussed. “I don’t see the benefit to the town to grant this at this point.”
Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at email@example.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.
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