Valencia County community development director Nancy Gonzales and Ron Saiz, the county’s abatement supervisor, exchanged a celebratory fist bump as they approached the podium for their presentation of seven nuisance properties to the Valencia County commissioners in March.

The commissioners unanimously approved the abatement of seven nuisance properties in the unincorporated parts of the county, as well as seven more at their April 20 meeting.

Gonzales said Saiz did all the “leg work” for the abatements, including finding nuisance properties that needed to be demolished or cleaned up.

“Ron has really taken to this, finding and identifying properties that require abatement. He tries to find the owners — looking up property records, going through obituaries,” Gonzales said. “This process will remove buildings and establish some peace to these neighborhoods. These are places that attract vagrants and crime, where juveniles have passed away.”

Saiz said there would be more properties coming to the commission later this summer. The properties are scattered through the unincorporated areas of the county.

If a building or structure is found to be dangerous, or a property a nuisance, the county commission can require the property be cleaned up, either by the property owner or by the county.

If the county does the abatement or clean up, then it can place a lien against the property for the cost of the work to be collected when it’s sold.

County attorney Adren Nance noted that often the properties aren’t worth the cost of removal and a full monetary recovery might not be made.

“The commission must determine whether or not the action is in the best interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the county,” Nance said.

After the commission approved the abatement of the properties, there is a 10-day appeal period, Gonzales said. None of the property owners from the March 16 meeting appealed, and one property from the April 20 meeting — 10 Santa Barbara — was tabled. The owners were at the meeting and asked for an extension while they worked to get the title for the mobile home on the property and removed it themselves.

The county has an abatement grant from the state for $177,600 that needs to be spent by the end of June, Gonzales said, and the cost of abatement and clean up varies by property.

Saiz said he was in the process of taking about 40 properties through the abatement. While some owners will clean up the property after they are notified, he said the majority will come to the commission for action.

Properties approved for abatement on March 16 and April 20:

  • 18 San Felipe Ave., El Cerro Mission
  • 54 San Francisco Road, El Cerro Mission
  • 04 San Louis Rey Place, El Cerro Mission
  • 13 Mountain View, El Cerro Mission
  • 76 Brazaro Ave., Monterey Park
  • 65 Bonita Loop, Meadow Lake
  • 56 Carmel Road, Monterey Park
  • 27 Seda Place, Las Maravillas
  • 9 San Juan, Laguna
  • 22 Canyon Road, Meadow Lake
  • 28 Canyon Road, Meadow Lake
  • 39 Mission Park Loop, El Cerro Mission
  • 121 Bonita Loop, Meadow Lake
  • 1427 Mario Dr. SW, Los Chavez
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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.