Neighbors complain of longtime Albuquerque ‘problem property’ after fire

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People living in one Albuquerque neighborhood say they’re fed up with a longtime problem property. Neighbors on Hannett Avenue near Broadway and I-40 say a fire Thursday night is the last straw in a string of problems. Neighbors describe it as a “nuisance” and the city’s planning department says it’s not the first time they’ve heard that.

“There were some calls for service, complaints that were registered back in 2019, half a dozen of those,” said Brennon Williams, Planning Director for the City of Albuquerque. “At that time in 2019, the inspector was working with the owner to bring the property into compliance to do what needed to be done.”

Complaints included things like outdoor storage, trash on the property and non-working cars taking up space. Williams says late 2019 was the last kind of round of enforcement. KRQE covered problems reported in December 2019 which included a reported illegal tire shop with tires piled high on a trailer parked in the street, as well as a homemade garage built in the driveway.

“Ultimately that concluded in mid-February of 2020,” said Williams. “At that point, the property owner had done one that they needed to do to bring the property into compliance.”

Neighbors declined to speak on camera but say it wasn’t long before the owner was back at it with junk piled around the house. Eventually, there was a fire at the home Thursday evening. KRQE News 13 asked the city’s planning department why it came to this if problems were still being reported. “It happens,” said Williams. “It’s certainly not ideal and it’s not in every situation, every case that code enforcement works where you have a property owner or property that slips back into non-compliance.”

The planning department says neighbors are their eyes and ears to these problem properties and they rely on getting tips if things get bad again. Albuquerque Fire Rescue says it was likely the roof might collapse because of the fire damage.

“Based upon some initial assessment of the structure, it looks like it’s probably structurally unsound and is going to need to come down,” said Williams. “We’re just kind of waiting to see what the fire department has to say and our building official will take a look at the structural integrity of the house.”

AFR did not have an update on the fire investigation. The city’s planning department says the best way to stay on top of problem homes in your neighborhood is to keep reporting issues to 311.

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