By Jeff Todd
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Jefferson County has told a family they’re not allowed to use their private baseball field for public functions anymore.
“A decade ago it was a horse pasture,” David Brown said as he showed CBS4 the baseball diamond he made. “It started with my son and his teammates would practice here. It just grew into this, improving it where the kids could have a realistic approach to baseball.”
Over the past few years the Browns have opened the field to other kids in their neighborhood.
“Their teams may need a place to practice on certain days, so anywhere from four to nine kids might be out here with their parents doing instruction,” Brown said.
The diamond backs up to McIntyre Court and has seen its fair share of controversy with a neighbor. The County told CBS4 complaints were filed in 2010, 2014, 2015 and a zoning inspector finally cited the Browns after a 2016 complaint.
“When it turned into something was last year at our Arvada Community Foodbank fundraiser. We had a little scrimmage between 8- and 9-year-old kids,” Brown said.
Despite raising more than $6,000 for charity, the county said the Browns had violated the zoning for the area.
A complaint says, “Defendants are using the baseball field located at the property for local youth teams to hold practices, tournaments and fundraisers, which are not permitted uses in this zone district.”
The Browns were summoned to court and last week a judge decided they had violated the zoning ordinance with their fundraiser game and were fined $200 with the potential for further fines if they ever have another game on the property.
The Planning and Zoning Department for Jefferson County told CBS4 the fundraiser was “commercial in public nature” violating the zoning ordinance and said it crossed the line into a public event and not a private affair.
The department says it is willing to work with the Browns to get the ball field rezoned. David Brown says he doesn’t have much trust in the county right now.
“We’re here just to give back to the community. These kids need a place to practice, and they enjoy it, we love it. To be shut down for just giving back, I mean that’s what is blowing me away,” Brown said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.