Holger and Sally Christiansen started building this wall around their home at 1221 N. Cascade Ave. in 2007. It sits unfinished while they battle the city over zoning codes, permits, variances and encroachments.
Eventually, the city sued the Christiansens to force compliance with codes. The couple countersued and the whole mess comes to trial Tuesday.
There’s more at stake than just the $200,000-plus wall, built of red brick they had shipped from Virginia and which towers over Cascade just north of Unitah Street.
The trial, before Fourth Judicial District Judge Timothy Simmons, left, will be a test of Colorado Springs’ zoning codes and the Historic Preservation Board and its rules for construction in the Old North End Historic District.
The city says the Christiansens built the wall without necessary permits. The wall ranges from nearly 7 feet to 11 feet tall at the top of its decorative finials, shown below.
In fact, it far exceeds the 6 feet maximum for fences and walls built without permits or variances. It’s so large the city classifies it as an “accessory structure” meaning it must sit back 25 feet from property lines.
Worse, the city says, it encroaches into a city alley by 2 feet, flush against a city utility pole, as you can see below.
A few months earlier, in May, I wrote about it for the first time.
It’s a beautiful wall, as you can see. But the city said the process the Christiansens’ followed violates the integrity of the zoning codes and planning process, as well as defies the Historic Preservation Board, which rejected the wall as inappropriate in the district.