“Citizens have been attentive,” code officer reports
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CITY CLEAN-UP EFFORTS CONTINUE
Cotulla residents who have been issued with warning letters regarding unkempt properties are beginning to comply with city ordinances in greater numbers, according to a report filed with the city council.
Addressing councilors at their last meeting in January, Code Compliance Officer Joey Garcia said warning letters have been mailed to property owners who have failed to keep grass and brush under control, who have trash and other debris piled in their yards or whose inoperable vehicles block public rights of way.
In some cases late last year, the city took steps to remove abandoned, junked or inoperable vehicles that had been sitting unused in roads and alleys, contracting with a wrecker service that towed the vehicles to a privately owned property in Gardendale. Vehicle owners were subject to towing fees. The agreement with the wrecker service was made at no cost to the city.
In his January 12 report, Garcia said six properties in Cotulla are being shortlisted for citations because of tall grass and brush, debris in the yard, and at least one junked vehicle.
“Others are now in compliance,” the officer said of those who had been identified during the last two months of 2022.
If cited, property owners will be required to appear before the municipal judge, who may levy fines for continued violations of the city ordinances.
“Citizens have been attentive and have been cleaning their properties,” Garcia told the council.
Having published a list last year of at least a dozen properties on which structures were dilapidated, derelict or uninhabitable, Garcia said the city expects to continue ordering demolition of those whose owners do not undertake the task themselves. In such cases, according to City Hall, liens are attached to the properties for the expenses incurred in tearing down and removing structures. Costs range from $1,500 and upwards, depending on structure size, materials, equipment and manpower required for the job.
“Three demolitions are pending,” the code compliance officer said. “Two of them are from the list we published, and we are adding one at 1302 Live Oak Street.”
Garcia said in an interview last year that he expects to pursue enforcement of the ordinances regarding dilapidated structures because City Hall’s position is that the overgrown and derelict buildings constitute a public nuisance and are regarded as a hazard, being habitats for wild animals and strays, and may be used as havens for criminal activity.