Truckee OKs extension for Glenshire couple’s long-delayed estate | SierraSun.com

Truckee OKs extension for Glenshire couple’s long-delayed estate

Josh Staab
jstaab@sierrasun.com

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The town of Truckee has come to a tentative agreement with a local couple to let them continue work on their family home in Glenshire, marking the latest move in a seven year battle.

Lonnie Sortor spoke to Truckee Town Council members before they reached their Sept. 22 decision, saying he believed he could have construction on the 12295 Filly Lane home completed by March 31, 2016, said Community Development Director John McLaughlin.

“The council saw that he had made progress,” McLaughlin said last week. “We don’t want to set him up to fail, so we’re going to work on a more realistic timeline.”

The saga began in 2008, when Lonnie and Tanna Sortor were found to be in breach of town protocol as they began construction on their family home.

However, Mr. Sortor said previously he believes it was when neighbors started filing nuisance complaints that town staff began growing more concerned.

Town council eventually on Aug. 11 unanimously approved a resolution to abate the unfinished residence.

Sortor said he began working on the home again on Aug. 27, however, and was able to finish the majority of work to the exterior, with the patio and chimney yet to be completed.

“We listened to what everyone said and took it to heart,” Sortor said. “In less than 30 days, we addressed the nuisance complaint and worked to satisfy the neighbors.”

According to the Sept. 22 vote, Sortor can continue work on the home, but must comply with a number of conditions, which town staff is basing on the extended process and the number of additional hours staff have required addressing the neighbors’ nuisance complaint.

Consequences for not abiding by the rules could result in fines or the property going into receivership, McLaughlin said.

One of the conditions of the council’s vote, meanwhile, is Sortor must pay the town $24,000 to foot the bill of added staff hours.

“He has cost taxpayers a lot of money in having to address the issue,” McLaughlin said.

That $24,000 fine, McLaughlin said, is associated with the time and effort code compliance officer Kerry Taber, chief building official Johnny Goetz and McLaughlin spent pursuing Sortor’s case, McLaughlin said.

While a finalized agreement is in the works, it appears the $24,000 could be paid back at the time of the Sortors’ official occupation of the residence.

Another provision for the deadline extension requires the Sortors provide evidence work is being completed, McLaughlin said.

“He’ll need to provide evidence of his financial security to complete the project, cost estimates, and his permits will need to be renewed,” he said.

However, in a Sept. 29 phone interview, Sortor said no clear strategy to address those milestones had been discussed.

“At this point, I don’t know what is going to show up in the final document,” Sortor said. “But yes, we want to work with them to move forward.”

Sortor believes whatever official agreement the two parties do make, it could come quickly, probably within the week, he said.

“I feel (staff) are working to do that and accomplish that,” Sortor said. “And I am willing to comply with what is required as long as it is reasonable.”

For now, it appears there may be a happy ending to this long and sorted story for the town and Sortors, and as far as McLaughlin and Sortor are concerned, that’s a good thing.

“I appreciate everything the town is doing,” Sortor said. “We’re doing everything we can do to execute what they want.”

“It was never our intent to tear (the project) down, but (Sortor) didn’t leave us much choice,” McLaughlin said. “We’re all glad to see the house completed.”