Updated: Mar 24
PLEASANTON – Pleasanton resident Theresa Miller didn't mince words on Monday, Feb. 28, when the Pleasanton City Council backed off on a deadline to allow the owners of a condemned property more time to work on repairs.
Calling parts of the city "a dump" and "a pigsty," Miller said that while city officials talk about attracting business to the community, they don't don't do enough to make the city attractive.
"I'm very concerned because we've been here over 20 years, and the same houses look the same as they did 20 years ago," Miller said. "If you cannot afford to have a house that looks livable, you shouldn't have a house."
She chided the council members for not following through on condemnation proceedings once they were initiated. "You keep on giving extensions," she said.
Miller's remarks came after Wayne and Cynthia Jones, who own a vacant house at 109 E. Miami, had just appeared before the council. The Joneses, who are not city residents, gave the council an update on progress they made making repairs to a house that the council condemned.
Although the couple had made some progress on the house, they admitted that they had trouble finding people to work on it. Because of that, Wayne Jones said, there were still things that needed to be done on the exterior.
Codes enforcement officer Sandy Atkisson noted that despite work by the Joneses, there were still three or four broken windows and some wood rot on the exterior of the house. She noted that the couple had been given until Feb. 7 to start showing progress on making repairs on the home's exterior.
Council member Jake Mattingley told the couple that the last thing the city wanted to do was to tear down a home that someone could live in. "As long as you guys are making progress, that's all we can ask," he said.
That was when Miller launched into her criticism of the council for not following through. She said the council says a house is going to be condemned, but it never is, she said.
"I have to spend money on my house to make it look nice," she said. Miller went on to say that because of the state of so many houses, the city "looks like a dump,"
Mattingley suggested that if Miller wanted to change the procedure, she should run for city council. But she responded that one person couldn't get anything done, suggesting it would take the whole council to work on the issue.
"You can be as nice as you want to, but that's not going to help the township of Pleasanton," she said.
In a separate interview with City Manager Theresa Whitaker, she said that addressing the problems with unsightly houses is a continual problem. Often after the city issues condemnation orders, the owners of the homes make enough repairs to have the proceedings cancelled, but soon the properties return to a state of disrepair.
She also said that there are cases where, as condemned properties reach the point of demolition, those properties are sold to someone else and the procedure starts all over again.
Miller also pointed to an instance where a backhoe moved in to demolish a house and the backhoe operator was threatened by the property owner swinging a club.
However, later in Monday's meeting, the council took action against another property at 355 Laurel St. In the first of a pair of resolutions passed unanimously by the council, the city ordered that the property owner had 10 days to remove weeds, nuisances and junk vehicles from the property.
The second resolution gave the property owner 30 days to complete maintenance and repairs to a structure on the property. Both resolutions said that a hearing on both complaints would be held at the April 18 council meeting.