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Nov 28, 2011 7:01 PM by Matt Stafford

Neighbors taken over by tumbleweeds

Tumbleweeds have been all over the place lately, but that's an understatement for a Fountain couple.

Marcia Gieck and her husband Sam say every Sunday since April they've had to spend at least three hours in their yard breaking down and throwing away tumbleweeds. In some places they've been getting piles that reach a few feet in the air. The Giecks say it's not just them; it's all of their neighbors on Rolling Ridge Road.

They invited News 5 out to take a look Monday.

Gieck says they're mostly coming from the property behind their homes; the old Appletree Golf Course. The golf course closed in 2006, it was foreclosed this year. The property was purchased by Rialto Capital Management out of Miami; a wholly-owned subsidiary of public homebuilder Lennar Corporation.

Gieck says the golf course has received little to no maintenance, and as things dry out the tumbleweed numbers heading her way have picked up.

Gieck says the City of Fountain originally told them there wasn't anything they could do, but later sent a truck to the neighborhood on Monday to pick up tumbleweeds that neighbors had moved to the front of their yards.

After neighbors had been warned by local Code Enforcement that they would be cited for various violations according to Gieck, it has her wondering why Code Enforcement hasn't done the same with the golf course. She wants those property owners held to the same standards as local homeowners.

"I guess that's where I see the role of the City of Fountain is to contact those people and say look we would have to write those people a ticket, you guys have to do something to protect these homeowners and the value of their property," says Gieck.

Fountain Code Enforcement says that with large parcels of land (like the golf course), the owners are only required to mow a 30-foot strip along the property lines adjoining smaller properties. City of Fountain Planning Director Dave Smedsrud says the current owners, Rialto Capital Management, did that at one point over the summer. He says there isn't a frequency requirement. Smedsrud says the owners have been responsive to issues before; he points out that after neighbors complained of a smell coming from the lake on the property, Rialto has worked to correct the issue.

Calls to Rialto Capital Management by News 5 were not returned.

Gieck wants the property owners to take better care of the property, and put up some type of a fence to keep the weeds out of her yard.

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