Health Department to tear down 44 abandoned homes

2318 Hopper Street

By P.J. Williams

The Aldine area will receive a special spring cleaning April 14 when the Harris County Health Department begins to demolish 44 abandoned houses as enforcement of the Nuisance Abatement Laws.

The Health Department chose these properties for abatement based on complaints from individuals, the Aldine Community Improvement District, and from the manpower efforts of Environmental Health Division.

The Department’s efforts focused on an area bounded by Interstate 59, Homestead Rd., Greens Bayou, and Little York. “We identified all the [dilapidated] houses in there we could find,” said Philip Moore, administrator of the Neighborhood Nuisance Program.

Federal grant monies from Harris County Housing and Economic Development made this extra manpower possible. The grant funds a staff position and the demolition of houses.

Much work is required before an abandoned property can be abated. First, a diligent search must be made for the owner. This is done with the help of files from the appraisal district, the Harris County Attorney, voter registration records, and internet databases.

Then, the Health Department must post a legal notice in the paper listing the houses are up for demolition. “We make every effort to find the owner so we can get them to demolish the building, and we can spend money on other homes,” Moore said.

If the owners cannot be found, the property is put before the court in a public hearing. After the demolitions are approved, the Health Department seeks bids from contractors. Moore said the whole process usually takes six months from the first complaint.

“If it goes like it should, the process should take three to four months, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances,” Moore explained. These circumstances include difficult to locate owners or owners who are elderly or on fixed incomes.

“There’s always a story behind these properties. Some of them are pretty sad stories,” said Moore. He said the Health Department tries to work with owners to come to an acceptable solution.

In early May, another group of approximately twenty-five houses, not all in the Aldine area, will be presented to the Commissioner’s Court for demolition. This list may grow before it is presented depending on leads from the community.

“This time of year has traditionally been when the complaints come in. In the six months between April and the end of October we receive seventy five percent of complaints,” said Moore.

This list of properties below have been approved for demolition by Harris County Commissioners Court. Demolition is scheduled to begin the week of April 14, 2003. These properties are not for sale by Harris County; however, if anyone has legal interest in these properties they should contact Harris County Health and Environmental Services at 713-439-6270 and speak with Philip Moore or Liliana Gretzer. 4907 Cedar Hill 13522 Darjean 13838 Darjean 13830 Darjean 13834 Darjean 13618 Darjean 13710 Darjean 13823 Darjean 13402 Darjean 4022 Darwin 5207 Hanley 5234 Hanley 5031 Hartwick 5326 Hartwick 5652 E. Hillside 2318 Hopper 2438 Hopper 4711 Hopper 4906 Hopper 5601 Huse 5607 Huse 2609 Kowis 4308 Lone Oak 5721 Mary Francis 5736 Mary Francis 2014 Mierianne 2401 Mierianne 4302 Mohawk 4532 Mohawk 4910 Mohawk 3021 Mooney 3805 Nuggent 5933 Ridgedale 6005 Ridgedale 2821 Rosemary 4907 Rosemary 4333 Shelton 4509 Shelton 13701 Terlin 13810 Terlin 4320 Trenton 2407 Trenton 11735 Varnell 2419 William Tell.