He bought the place in 1998, with its tiny 700-square-foot cottage (vintage 1938) and a detached garage. Bierdeman built a large volleyball pit on the spot where he presumes the original house stood. The cottage and garage were the only things left when he bought it.
Here is the cottage:
Bierdeman, 54, wanted to replace the cottage. So he decided to build a studio apartment above his garage. Once finished, he planned to demolish the cottage and rebuild a more substantial house. However, he didn’t pull the necessary building permits or obtain the variances the city required.
Neighbor Jordan Dickerson wants the garage and apartment demolished because it blocks his view of Pikes Peak.
Here is the old garage topped by a nearly finished 400-square-foot studio apartment:
Before he could finish the apartment, Colorado Springs Code Enforcement officers ordered him to move two commercial buses from his property or enclose them in a garage. So Bierdeman went to work and erected an impressive steel-and-wood garage. It is 20 feet wide and 60 feet long and about 20 feet tall.
Here’s a look at the garage, Bierdeman and his buses inside:
Bierdeman has plans to use the buses for a Christian ministry he calls Thunder Road. Drawing on his background as an avid bicycle racer and outdoorsman, he intends to take youth on adventure rides, camping and canoe trips. His first trip was planned in 2001 but never materialized. He still hopes to launch his ministry and invested $40,000 in the buses and gear.
Bierdeman is a jack-of-all-trades who has worked at Western Forge, as well as industrial maintenance, construction and a variety of jobs. He is an inventor who won a patent in 1991 for a device to grill food. He also has invented a dish-soaking device which he took to an American Inventor reality television competition. He lost. And he has come up with board games and other inventions.
In 2002, Bierdeman opened Spud Melvin’s hot dog joint at Circle Drive and Palmer Park Boulevard. It was his first experience with the Regional Building Department. It was not a pleasant one and led him to give up on the permitting process when he started his apartment and garage. He no longer owns Spud Melvin’s.