SAN ANTONIO -

The East side neighborhood of Willow Park Coliseum Oaks is a tight-knit community of long-time neighbors.

"Everybody really watches out for everybody around here. They all want to try to make a difference to keep the neighborhood safe, to keep the neighborhood clean," said homeowner Brett Carter.

There are a couple of exceptions, however: The vacant homes at 430 Edna Ave. and 418 Edna Ave.

"Windows are broken, curtains are all torn up. You can even walk through (a hole in) the side of the house just to look at ... how bad it is," Carter said.

Residents in the area worry the home at 418 Edna Avenue, having been vacant for more than 20 years, is a welcome mat for squatters, drug dealers and vandals.

"Code compliance has come out (and) done their part. They said they have turned the information into the city and we just haven't got a response back if they're going to tear it down," Carter said.

Development Services Assistant Director Marc Castro explained a Texas Supreme Court ruling last summer required the city to use a different demolition process, creating a backlog on demolitions. He also said that decision has since changed.

"The Texas Supreme Court subsequently replaced that opinion in February of this year, allowing us to go back to our existing demolition process, which really allows us to expedite the process," Castro said.

According to Castro, 418 Edna has been scheduled for demolition and, within a week of the Defenders' interview with the city, it was torn down.

Neighbors have another concern in the area: 430 Edna Ave., which has been vacant for more than eight years.

"We'll give them a notice of violation. We'll meet with them to explain the problem and then we're going to work with them (to) hopefully be able to provide us a scope of work, proof of financial means and an engineer's report, if one is required," Castro said.

While Castro is willing to work with the homeowners, he isn't willing to sacrifice public safety in the long run, which means this home could also end up before the demolition board if it's not properly repaired.

Images: Willow Park vacant home

Published On: Jul 20 2012 02:29:13 PM CDT

After dozens of complaints and 20 plus years, an East side home is still sitting vacant. Neighbors asked the Defenders to step in after more than a dozen complaints and years of inaction.

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