City demands tenant clean up North Austin eyesore

Neighbors have complained to the City of Austin about how this front yard looks on Hardy Drive.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — We’ve all heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but Betty Zschiesche is starting to wonder how much more can her neighbor collect?

“I think it needs to be cleaned up and taken away,” said Zschiesche.

For the past several years, Zschiesche says her neighbor on Hardy Drive continues to use his front, side and backyard as a junkyard, dumping anything and everything onto the property. Now it is to the point where she is concerned for her safety.

“All the stuff there, like rodents and everything, could come in and we might have a health issue,” she said.

Austin’s Code Compliance Department says they are aware of the issue and are investigating.

“I just get kind of depressed when I see it because it’s such a nice neighborhood,” said Jonathan Anderson who lives down the street. “It really is like a 24 hour salvage yard…a junkyard.”

Tires, old paint cans and even a log sit on the front lawn. A trailer piled with junk sits right in front of the house. A spokeswoman for the City of Austin says they have left the tenant multiple violation notices, most recently on Friday. And while it was not easy getting to the front door, KXAN wanted to know what the person living here has to say about it, but no one answered.

City officials say the tenant has been uncooperative and unresponsive to their requests.

“I’m hoping that eventually it will get clean and I think they’re in the process of trying to make it work,” said Zschiesche.

The city tells KXAN the next step will be to abate the property, meaning city officials will come in and take care of it themselves. The tenant could be fined and have a lien put on the house.

But homeowners nearby are frustrated the city has spent so long on this case without any results. Members of the Code Department insist they must follow a process before they can take action against a homeowner.

Code Enforcement officers say they typically give residents three warnings before beginning enforcement. Homeowners normally get seven days to comply, but in many cases they will clean up and fall out of compliance days later. That is where it gets tricky, city officials said, and it is why the code enforcement department is currently working to update their procedures.

In the last three months, officials have handed out more than 1,600 violations.

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