Fresno council member expediting demolition of abandoned structures

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno city councilmember is trying to boot the biggest eyesores from his district.

Luis Chavez kicked off Operation Blight Removal Friday, aiming to expedite the demolition of problem properties in Southeast Fresno.

"The neighbor that you saw come and speak to me, he's just sick and tired of having this," said Chavez. "Community members shouldn't have to live next to a property like this."

The councilmember unveiled his plan in front of a dilapidated home on E. Platt Street, where transients were camping out in a shed as he spoke in the front yard.

"A lot of people go in and out. They sleep there overnight. It just looks ugly," said Viviana Salmeron, who lives next to such a property.

Salmeron is one of the many neighbors who has had enough of the problem. She says the house on the corner of her block already burned down once and is a constant fire hazard. She says the property owners rarely come by.

"I've seen them come, but it just stays the same. I want it to be gone honestly," said Salmeron

Chavez has compiled a list of top ten abandoned buildings that have received the most complaints. He's giving them 30 days to comply before the building will be labeled a public health nuisance. He says before there were no real consequences.

"There wasn't teeth or really heavy fines. This has the big threat of the city actually taking over the property and cleaning it."

In the last month, the city has already demolished two problem properties using this strategy. Chavez says as more buildings come into compliance -- they will update continuously update their list. If you would like ot report a location or address of abandoned structures, please call Chavez's office at 559-621-7854.
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