ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He is called a nightmare neighbor. Residents say junk has been piling up—like dishwashers, and a semi-truck—in the front yard next to them. Some in the Inez neighborhood wonder when this ordeal will be over.
The president of the neighborhood association, Maya Sutton, says they’ve tried to combat the eyesore from every avenue they can through the city. Sutton says even though an end may be in sight, it’s been years since residents have had a clear view.
“My husband walks every morning, every single morning, and he’d come and tell me: everyday, there are more and more things there,” says one concerned neighbor, “He had tractors, he had old cars, port-a-potties, I mean all kinds of things there…Front, back, side. Everywhere.”
“He’s doing illegal outdoor storage up to the rooftop in the front of his house, up to the rooftop on the side of his house, and beyond a nine-foot fence in his backyard,” Sutton says. There have been cases, Sutton says, where the stuff has spilled out onto the street and the sidewalk.
“One of the neighbors, for he has a lot of junk on the sidewalk, injured his toe, broke his foot,” Sutton says. She says neighbors are constantly reaching out to the neighborhood association with their concerns: “When is this going to be cleaned up? What’s happening? Why do we have to tolerate this? There’s tremendous frustration and impatience.”
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Sutton says they’ve been working with the city—zoning, and even police—to try and get things cleaned up. “There have been sort of monthly hearings, in court, in metro court, with a judge who has been quite lenient with this fellow, whose name is Patrick, in giving him more and more time to clean it up and more opportunities to do the right thing. None of which he has done,” Sutton says. Neighbors facing decreasing property values say they don’t want the tenant, Patrick Wallentine, to get any more chances.
“They can’t stand looking at it anymore. And they’re getting very impatient and upset; but, we keep telling them that the wheels of government grind slowly but they are grinding,” Sutton says.
The city doesn’t either. It had struck a deal with Wallentine to clean up the mess, which they say he has ignored. There is a hearing later this month where the city is asking a judge to throw out that agreement. If the judge does so, then the case would move forward to trial and a judge could force Wallentine to clean up his property. No trial date has been set yet. Wallentine lives in the home, but does not own it.