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Condemned Property Reviewed By Council
Building pix
Property and buildings at 2101 and 2103 Jackson Ave., Escalon, have been boarded up by the city and declared unfit for human occupancy. Marg Jackson/The Times

Structures at 2101 and 2103 Jackson Ave., Escalon, have been deemed uninhabitable, been boarded up, and, based on the action of the Escalon City Council on Monday night, will be the subject of a special assessment on the property tax rolls.

The property has been through the code enforcement process in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, City Manager Tammy Alcantor told council members on Monday night.

It is a situation where the property owner passed away several years ago and a reverse mortgage on the home led to discrepancies in ownership of the property. Consequently, tenants living there were not “responsible to any landlord,” the city staff report noted.

“Over the last 12 months, the Escalon Police Department has responded to the property 35 times,” Alcantor added.

City officials said based on property conditions witnessed by officers, along with a code enforcement complaint form that was filed on the property, the Building Department did a health and safety inspection at the location. Through that inspection, a number of health and safety issued were identified and the property was deemed unfit for human occupancy.

The property has since been secured, with 22 windows and seven doors being boarded up, said officials, with that process completed in mid-August. The notice of code violation was recorded on the property on Aug. 24; with the Sept. 18 public hearing then set regarding placing the special assessments.

From the city perspective, the assessment on the tax rolls is an effort to recoup the costs incurred for the code enforcement abatement, a cost of more than $16,700.

Guardian Asset Management has been assigned to the property and the home/property is expected to eventually be put up for auction by HUD, the Housing and Urban Development Department. Alcantor said should someone purchase the property, there would be a long list of items to address to bring it up to code and make it livable once again. Or the purchaser could get authorization to demolish the buildings and re-build on the site.

Taking the podium to speak at the public hearing Monday night was Patrick Chambers, who said he had lived on the property for the past few years and found it boarded up when he returned from a recent four-month stay in Las Vegas.

“I resided there at least four years, the family (of the former owner) left it to me,” Chambers told the council.

He said he wanted to know what “his options” were for the property, indicating he had put money into it over the years with roof repairs, cleaning out debris and painting the interior.

“Guardian Asset Management is working to ascertain the owner,” Alcantor said.

Mayor Jeff Laugero said the city isn’t in a position to allow Chambers back on to the property, as he requested, since it isn’t a city-owned site and there is a condemnation notice on file.

“You’ve got a bigger issue than we’ve got,” Laugero told Chambers.

The city is seeking to recoup its costs while Chambers is hoping to claim the property. Laugero said the city could make sure Chambers has contact information for Guardian Asset Management so he can follow up with that firm and stay informed as the HUD process moves along.

Chambers, who admitted to having run-ins with local police in the past, said he is working now and is looking to stabilize his residency.

“Thank you for listening to me,” he told the council members. “I’m not sure what we accomplished but I guess I got some information.”

The council unanimously approved the resolution to place the special assessment on the property tax rolls for the Jackson Avenue sites.