Private Property Cleanup: City of Fresno enforces stronger abatement rules

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Fresno will now enforce stricter rules when it comes to illegal dumping. Councilmembers say the harsher enforcement will require property managers to respond more quickly and if the issue is not fixed the first time, the clean-up cost will then fall on the owner instead of taxpayers.

To clean up Fresno's streets, the city will now give property owners less time before code enforcement steps in and takes matters into their own hands.

City leaders met in a vacant lot Wednesday morning. They say it's a dumping area and eyesore that the city has had to clean up on average once every 20 days, all on the taxpayers dime.

"In the past, we've been abating these properties at the cost of taxpayers. The new policy would allow us to abate a property after 10 days that the owner has been notified of the conditions of the property," explained Councilmember Miguel Arias with the city of Fresno.

Going forward, property owners will be billed for the clean-up cost, which could range anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 depending on the condition. If they decide not to pay, a lien will be put on their property.

"This particular owner has three properties in my district and they're all in a similar condition, a lot of trash, a lot of messes, and every month we get neighbors who call us asking for the latest RV that is burned out to be removed, the latest pile of garbage to be removed," added Arias.

Residents who live in the area who used to be homeless themselves said the problem is that those without a home have nowhere to put their trash.

"Last year along 180, it was just about three or four people and now it's gotten, you know, the full fence," said Lawrence Durbin, resident of Fresno.

"When I was homeless, I always stayed in places where I could throw my stuff away and I am so tempted to ask these people why they are so messy. I found out because they don't have any place to throw their trash," added Durbin.

With 174 requests to clean up properties in January alone, city councilmembers said it was time to make a change.

"No family should have to live next to a sight like this. You look at the folks who live here behind us, they shouldn't have to see this. They shouldn't be concerned about their children walking through here on their way to school," explained Luis Chavez, Councilman with the city of Fresno.

City leaders say that they realize there is a homeless crisis, explaining that just this morning they housed 28 residents, giving them shelter off the streets.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.