Troubleshooters update: Aransas Pass burned house

Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 19:50:12-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Tonight's Troubleshooters story is an update to a story we first reported in August 2021.
An Aransas Pass house burned down last May.

The family living next door called us because rodents, roaches, and transient had taken over the property, and thus impacted their lives as well.

The Aransas Pass city manager told us it was going to be a process to get the place demolished.

And now, eight months later, it still hasn't been demo'ed. We wanted to know why.

The house is on 10th Street in Aransas Pass.

Ben Drake and his family have lived next door since 1980, but they called us for help getting something done about the tall, uncut grass, weeds, trailer, rodents, roaches, and transients hanging around the property.

The Troubleshooters spoke with Aransas Pass City Manager Gary Edwards in our first story. He told us that the city wasn't having any success finding the legal owner of the property, and as of today, they still hadn't found what they're looking for.

And that's a concern.

"We know that it's ready for demolition, and that someone's not going to pop up and say 'you should not have demolished it, so we're going to sue you,'" he told the Troubleshooters.

And he emphasized, the city does not want to incur any unnecessary legal costs. And then there's the Board of Building Standards and Appeals. It's a 5-7 member civilian board that has to give their approval for the demo.

According to Edwards, this board only meets to discuss multiple properties, not just one.
"They have to feel comfortable that we've done all that we can do to search for the owner, and making sure it's ready for demolition," he said.

And once approval is given, the demolition has to put up for bid. So, it's going to be awhile before this property is is torn down and cleaned up.

And once that happens, it's likely the city will be responsible for maintaing the property. Another expense.

"That's another reason we have to be very careful before we start maintaining a property," he told the Troubleshooters. "We want to make sure that's it's in the city's best interest to do that. There's a big expense there."

Edwards also adds that the city will put a lien on the property so it can recoup the expense of the demolition and maintenance, if and when, somebody buys it.