Unsafe home to be razed in Farmersville
farmersville – The City of Farmersville is looking better than ever. Recent announcements of road improvements, the completion of its sports park expansion and recognition for its innovative dual roundabout, have all contributed to the physical improvement of the community.
In order to keep the community improvements on track, the Farmersville City Council recently directed its code enforcement officer to pave the way to removing a condemned and nuisance property in the middle of its downtown corridor. At its Jan. 23 meeting, the City Council ordered the abatement of substandard structures at 330 N. Farmersville Blvd., including a blue wood framed house, a detached garage and several sheds. According to a report from Code Enforcement Officer Richard Phillips, the abandoned residential property has become a public nuisance with homeless individuals taking shelter there and the buildings have been unsafe for more than a decade.
Problems with the house go span several code enforcement officers and go back to March 26, 2004 when a notice of sub-standard structures was filed with the Tulare County Recorder and sent to the property owner Tiburcio Cortez. Nothing happened but two years later Cortez was notified that he was in violation of Farmersville’s Municipal Code. Another four years went by and in July 2012 Child Welfare Services was called regarding a welfare check. Several people, including children, were found to be living in house which was tagged as unsafe to occupy. The family then gathered their belongings and left. The property has been vacant since that time.
Two years later, on Oct. 23, 2014, the code enforcement officer again sent a notice of sub-standard structures and a time frame to complete the repairs and upgrades to bring the home. At that time Cortez’s daughter, Martha Cortez, informed the officer that her father had passed and that she could not afford to bring the home in compliance or to demolish it.
More recently, Farmersville Police officers noticed there were people living in the converted garage in November 2016. They were forced to leave because the structure was unsafe. Two months ago, on Dec. 1, the property was boarded up and reposted as unsafe to occupy following a building code and fire inspection, which additionally found improperly abandoned electrical wiring that was a potential fire hazard. The code enforcement officer’s report did mention that a large amount of debris had been removed from the property, which remains in the name of the late Tiburcio Cortez.
City Manager John Jansons said even if the daughter were to purchase or obtain rights to the property she would be unable to repair or rebuild the home because it does not meet the city’s building code and is in an area that has re-zoned for downtown commercial use.
Even though the property owner of record is deceased, the Council was legally required to issue a second notice of public nuisance at its Jan. 23 meeting and must wait 30 days before hiring a contractor to demolish the structures.