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City Fighting To Demolish Blighted Apartment Complex

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – After a year of legal wrangling, hundreds of citations for code violations and tens of thousand of dollars in fines issued, the City of Arlington is preparing to demolish an apartment complex it says is dangerous for the people who live in and near La Joya Apartments.

“We’re seeing trash, occasionally we’ll hear gunshots,” said Maureen Wright who lives next to the complex. “Overnight, early in the morning we’ll hear loud music, fighting, just unruly stuff that I don’t want my children growing up in that environment.”

La Joya is Spanish for the jewel. But city inspectors say this La Joya is anything but a gem of a property.

Code compliance says it has cited the complex for more than 1,200 violations in less than a year.

The citations were for extensive mold, hazardous wiring, missing smoke detectors and unclean living conditions among other things.

In one case, pipes had leaked into downstairs apartments for so long water was pouring from under the apartment doors.

The city has pulled the property owners and their lendors through 12-months of court proceedings hoping to get them to take action.

“We’ve been to eight municipal hearings, whether its been for an extension or for them asking for some of their bond money back and with very little results on the property,” said Brian Daughtery with Arlington Code Compliance

And still, 75 units of the apartment complex are occupied.

Now Arlington may step in to demolish La Joya itself.

Tuesday night the council votes on roughly two million dollars worth of contracts to tear down the apartments and relocate the residents.

None of the renters we spoke with would appear on camera but many have already started moving their belongings to other places.

Mayor Robert Cluck says its not the ending the city wanted, but there was little other choice.

“We know what’s right,” Mayor Cluck said. “We know what’s morally right. We’re all about safety and clean living conditions. But if they won’t do it we can’t make anybody else do it. So, we have to bite the bullet.”

“I’m glad something’s being done now,” Wright said. “It should have been done sooner. But I understand you have to go through the channels.”

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