Harker Heights: Residents Relocating After City Condemns Property

By: Chinh Doan Email
By: Chinh Doan Email

HARKER HEIGHTS (December 27, 2012)--Some residents on Lynn Drive in Harker Heights are packing up and moving after the City of Harker Heights' Building Standards Commission has deemed 19 homes uninhabitable.

Joan Hughes, who has lived on Lynn Drive for 12 years, is one of those looking for a new place to live.

"I want to get out any way, but I wanted to move out in dignity," Hughes said.

"I didn't want to go under these circumstances...they put me out of a condemned building, and I think that's crazy."

The City's Planning & Development Director Fred Morris III said this has been in the works for about a year.

"These buildings have serious safety issues for fire, carbon monoxide, things that are just dangerous that were determined not to be habitable, so it's important that they not be made available," Morris III said.

The property owner, Buttross Properties, said their goal is to provide low income housing for residents.

David Buttross said they have tried everything they can to meet the City's demands, but it's too expensive.

The City agrees it may be too expensive to save the houses.

"They've deteriorated to the point where it's probably not economically viable to try and rehabilitate them for occupancy," Morris said.

"They've just gone so far down that you can't bring them back up."

Hughes said she is currently unemployed and pays about $300 a month for rent.

"They're making me pay rent for a condemned building, and I think that's crazy," Hughes said.

The City said no matter a resident's income or employment status, safety is always its first concern for every citizen.

"Everyone in Harker Heights should expect to have a safe, healthy place to live no matter what the income ranges are," Morris said.

The other half of Lynn Drive is scheduled for examination by the City's Building Standards Commission in January, and may face the same fate.

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