On August 8, KRQ News did a story about a residential property in Four Hills where neighbors are dealing with a trashed-out property and some proclaiming they have a nightmare neighbor. Below is the unedited news story followed by the link:
“People living in a quiet Four Hills neighborhood are dealing with what some call a nightmare neighbor. The house is barely visible, and the front yard is filled with furniture, appliances, and trash.
The mess is four years in the making. Neighbors said not only is the house unsightly, but it’s also a huge safety risk.
“I see it getting much worse unless the city steps in immediately,” said one neighbor.
The house is in the Four Hills neighborhood. At the house, you can barely see it. It’s covered by couches, bookcases, construction material, and toppled basketball hoops.
“It’s been ongoing for about four years now, and the owner, she brings things home just on a daily basis,” that neighbor said, “It’s oddball things. It’s tires. It’s refrigerators. It’s pallets. It’s basketball hoops. It’s, you name it, she brings it home.”
The City of Albuquerque explained that they’ve received 25 calls about the home so far this year. When KRQE visited the house Wednesday, a city vehicle showed up. An employee got out, walked toward the home, but realized there was no clear path, and left.
The owner of the house is listed as Jessica Rhiger. According to court records, she was charged with a zoning violation for the mess in April, failed to show up to court, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Neighbors said the house is dangerous and are calling on the city for help.
“It’s a dangerous situation. I truly feel that it is. I would like the city to step in as soon as possible, like I said before, this home catches on fire and takes out a neighborhood.”
KRQE asked the city what their next step is, but they did not give any details. The homeowner does not have a criminal record other than DWI.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
It’s disgusting to see stories like this about residential homes that are trashed out by homeowners and who violate city codes, ordinances and nuisance laws and the city gives the neighborhood excuses saying it cannot do much, which is a lie and it has not always been the case.
From 2002 to 2009, the Safe City Strike Force was created to combat blighted, nuisance residential and commercial properties. Deputy City Attorney Pete Dinelli was the Director of the Strike Force and oversaw a team of 30 to 40 representatives from the City Attorney, the APD code teams, Fire Department and Fire Marshal’s Office, the Planning Department code inspectors, the Family Community Services and DA’s Office.
Together, the Strike Force took enforcement action against 75 to one 150 properties a week, mainly residential properties. Over 8 years, the Safe City Strike Force took civil enforcement action against some 7,500 properties, both commercial and residential properties.
Mayor Tim Keller dismantled and defunded the Safe City Strike Forced 5 years ago saying it did not fit into his “ONE ALBUQUERQUE” philosophy and slogan. Keller replaced the Strike Safe City Strike Force with a very watered-down program that is a low key “conciliatory approach” dealing with substandard properties and property owners and slum lords. Experience shows that “conciliatory approach” with slum lords and irresponsible property owners who do not want to spend the time, money nor want to make any effort to take care of their properties simply does not work.
No thanks Mayor Keller for being more concerned about public relations, imagery and slogans and not clean and safe neighborhoods.