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Former Homeless Man Fighting To Save His Home

By Tom Mustin

CONIFER, Colo. (CBS4) - Clem Smith's dream home in Conifer has become a nightmare.

"I'm going to be broke conforming to their wishes," he told CBS4's Tom Mustin.

Homeless for six years, the former handyman received a $214,000 inheritance when his mother passed away.

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(credit: CBS)

In March, he bought an eleven acre property for $125,000. He parked an RV on the property, bought a storage container, tools, a back hoe, and a chicken coop, and started preparing for the future.

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(credit: CBS)

"I've been building really nice houses for people my whole life. I want to build my own really nice house," Smith said while choking up.

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Clem Smith with CBS4's Tom Mustin (credit: CBS)

After spending several thousand dollars on road and septic permits, Smith received a citation after a neighbor complained about the RV and trash.

Under Jefferson County zoning codes, the storage container and RV are considered "accessories" unless a home is actually being built.

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(credit: CBS)

Smith has been told to remove the items or face several thousand dollars in fines - money he no longer has.

"I want to make Clement's Law. It's wrong for them to put people back on the streets if they have property. I don't want to go back to parking my motor home at Walmart."

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Clem Smith (credit: CBS)

Jeanie Rossillon is Jefferson County's development and transportation director.

She says the codes are  in place to protect neighbor's "health, safety and welfare," and that if Smith had a building permit the items could remain on the property.

Smith says he has no money left for blueprints and nowhere to move his belongings.

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Clem Smith with CBS4's Tom Mustin (credit: CBS)

Now, without some kind of help, he may end up with shattered dreams, and back on the streets.

"All I'm really asking help for is legal help to change this law for many states and county's across the country. That's what I want to do. Because it's wrong."

LINK: Clement Smith GoFundMe

Tom Mustin is CBS4's Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.


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