Nov 11, 2013 10:52 PM by Janine Reyes
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Some eyesores in Corpus Christi could soon be torn down. But, for those living near them, it's been a lengthy process.
The city started focusing on the Hillcrest neighborhood as part of Operation Proud Partnership last September.
6 News spoke with the city's Neigbhorhood Services Department to find out why it's taking so long.
"Right now I have 127 active pending cases for substandard structures," Code Enforcement Officer Laura Rickerson told us.
She is the only code enforcement officer assigned to tracking down owners of properties in bad shape, most that have been abandoned.
But, by streamlining the process and assigning just her to inspect them, she says the city's getting a lot more done with these homes. 65 have gone before the board this year.
Most are abandoned and full of trash, requiring too many repairs.
"It is in advanced deteriorated condition, the floors are starting to cave in on it. They're soft and spongy in a lot of locations, the roof has bad leaks in it," Rickerson said, describing the problems with one property.
The homes usually draw crime to the neighborhood. "We actually went in to one one time and a guy was sitting in there, shooting up," Rickerson told us.
But before the city can tear down a home, they have to try to find the homeowner or anyone related to the homeowner who may have an interest in the property.
The owner of one of the houses on the list now died in prison, his daughter has no interest or responsibility for the home.
In all, ten dilapidated houses will go before the Building Standards Board next Thursday. "For this agenda I have had contact for 3 of them," Rickerson said. That's 3 out of 10.
The reality is, most owners and their families are hard to find.
Thursday's meeting is the last notice she has to try and give to the owners of the beat up properties, and after 30 days, the city can tear it down at a cost of anywhere from $1,700 to $7,000.
Then, the city, has to wait to try and get reimbursed.
"It's not unusual for them to be delinquent on their taxes as well and some of them may be in the foreclosure process with Nueces County," Rickerson said.
If the home is foreclosed on and Nueces County sells the property, the county will reimburse the city for some of the demo costs.
Rickerson says the homes are already costing the city in mowing fees. They also board up the properties to try and keep people out.