Norman City Council declares house a public nuisance
NORMAN, Feb 13, 2013 (The Oklahoman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
People who live near an abandoned house on Cruce Street say trespassers camp out in it, use drugs and generally terrorize the neighborhood.
Teresa Willige told city council members Tuesday she's afraid to let her grandchildren play in the yard unless an adult is outside.
"We're so tired and weary of things going on at this home. We have a good neighborhood, and wonderful neighbors, except for one," Willige said.
The owner of the house at 1207 Cruce St. has moved to Oklahoma City, but her adult son and others have "camped out" there, causing multiple disturbances, Police Chief Keith Humphrey said.
The house has been the source of more than 70 calls for emergency service in the past 12 months, the police chief said.
"They include, but are not limited to, disturbing the peace, fighting, assaults, sexual assaults, shots fired, stabbings, drugs and robbery," Humphrey said.
The house is in disrepair and has been declared uninhabitable by city code inspectors. As a result, the occupants were ordered to move out, but trespassers have continued to break into it, the police chief said.
Police arrest troublemakers at the house, Humphrey said, "but you can't arrest your way out of everything. In a short period of time, they're out of jail, and it starts up again."
City council members voted to declare the house a public nuisance, cutting off water to the residence for the next six months. The council ordered the house locked, with signs posted that warn trespassers they will be prosecuted.
The owner has six months to repair the house and make it habitable, but city staff members said the woman has told them she can't afford to fix it. The council wants an update on the property in six months.
"We can come back and ask that the property be condemned if nothing is done," said Linda Price, the city's revitalization manager.
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