N4T Investigators: Neighborhood eyesore - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Neighborhood eyesore

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Avra Valley - The shell of a burned-out, double-wide trailer home has sat in a subdivision in unincorporated Pima County, west of Marana, for seven years.

From the street you can see inside the place, everything that hasn't been taken by passersby; the mattresses and holiday decorations, everything but the kitchen sink. This is what Ed Girardin has had to look at every since 2011. The 76-year old retiree lives right across the street. "A home is an investment, but I guess to a lot of people it ain't," Girardin told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. "I try to keep my place nice, and this is what I got to look at for seven years. So it's pretty bad."

Linda Clark, who lives around the corner, said, "It's terrible, it really is. I sometimes wonder what kind of vermin and everything lives in that area underneath the trailer and everything. Ooh, it's terrible looking."

Girardin added, "It's been a long time and I've made a lot of phone calls and never could get results or any action from anybody." So Ed called the News 4 Tucson Investigators, and we went to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Jennifer Lynch, the Waste Program and Enforcement Manager

We asked Lynch, "How has this eyesore of a house been allowed to sit there for seven years?" She said, "The property owners disappeared, did not want to be found or could not be found for whatever reason, and we just do not have the authority to go in on private property and demolish a building."

The county's case history shows inspectors went to the home 20 times since July 2011, shortly after it was destroyed by the fire (caused by a barbecue grill). Lynch says the department tried to take action but the home owners ignored notices and repeatedly skipped court. Then, two months ago, a break in the case: the property was sold. Just last Thursday, the day before our interview with Lynch, the new owners were given a Notice Of Violation. They have 30 days to remove everything but the foundation or face a fine of up to $500 a day. However, Lynch believes they will comply.

"We're fortunate now that we've located a fairly responsive owner that we've worked with in the past and now they have taken ownership of the property and we're confident that it will get resolved soon," Lynch told us.

This is hardly the only eyesore in the area, so what should residents do if they live near one? Lynch said, "We encourage them to call our office or go online to our website and submit a complaint, because as I said, once a case gets on our radar, we don't let it go."

Now, neighbors are looking forward to the county following up and the seven year old eyesore on the one-acre lot finally being removed.

Girardin said, "I'm really glad to see it happen because this is a corner lot, and with this out of here and this place cleaned up, this is a valuable piece of property."

If you have a complaint about an eyesore in your neighborhood, whether it's solid waste, such as a washer or dryer,  or hazardous waste or maybe even a rundown vacant house, don't hesitate to contact the Department of Environmental Quality. This case was extreme but in all cases remember, don't keep it to yourself or your neighbors. Make the call or file a complaint online.  As the old saying goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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