CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nick Feraci moved into his Ashland Drive home in 2015. He said the property down the street from his residence has had no one living there and been unkempt since then.
“I would be willing to believe that no one within city leadership would have something like this on their street in their neighborhood," said Feraci.
Neighbors filed complaints to code enforcement about the overgrown property in the 700 block Ashland Drive. Feraci wants to know why nothing has happened. The city code states weeds, excluding bushes trees and flowers, cannot be higher than 12 inches.
That’s not the only unkempt property near Feraci. Several around his neighborhood are overgrown. A supervisor with code enforcement said the workload there has been heavy.
“It’s overwhelming," Michael Gutierrez said, supervisor with Corpus Christi code enforcement. "I think it’s a lot overwhelming, but you know what? We’re up to the task. We’re not going to back away from any complaints that come in on a regular basis. We’re going to go out there and tackle every, every complaint that comes in.”
So what can they do?
The department has about 26 officers and the city budgeted to hire more next year.
When a complaint is filed, code enforcement will investigate. Gutierrez said if there’s a violation they will notify the owner of the property and they have a week to correct it.
“We will then issue a citation for the violation," said Gutierrez. "If still it’s not in compliance by then, we’ll give another week, see if they come in compliance or not. If not, then we’ll actually get out there and abate the property.”
“It’s been five years," said Feraci. "We’re working on it. You can see the place is absolutely boarded up. Its a cesspool for pest control. I’m sure the neighbors that are immediately next to it have rat and rodent problems.”
City code indicates the fine could be no more than $500. If the city abates a property a lien could be placed on it.
“In that situation, our hands are tied sometimes," Gutierrez said. "We have a list as well as — abatement list. And so, we have so many contractors to cover the whole entire city so it’s kind of hard for us to get out there and abate when somebody wants it done right away. It’s almost impossible.”
Gutierrez said complaints around schools and health and safety issues get priority.
“There is a process that we have to follow like everybody else," said Gutierrez. "There’s rules and regulations that we got to abide by. So, just be patient, yes we are getting to your calls we are getting to them. We’re not neglecting them.”
Gutierrez couldn't discuss specific complaints and why there has or hasn't been action. Although, city code states if an officer deems a property an imminent danger, they could take action right away.
"Make it happen," Feraci said. "Cut the grass. Cite the homeowner. Use our tax money to have people cut the grass and maintain the property. If not, do something with the house within the code enforcement regulations."
According to county records the property is owned by Rogelio Vasquez.