ST. GEORGE – The West Cove apartments at 100 S. 300 West in St. George continue to be a source of concern for neighbors and the city over a year after being after condemned.
St. George News first reported on the West Cove apartments in October 2012 after being contacted by Jerry Cox who lives nearby. He said the condemned property has been an issue for years and is ruining property values in the neighborhood. They are also a public safety hazard, he said.
“There is more crime in the neighborhood as the police try to keep the homeless out of the units and off the property,” Cox said.
Between 2011 and 2012 the police had received a total of 16 calls related to the apartments, Officer Derek Lewis of the St. George Police Department said. The calls ranged from simple nuisance calls to drug calls, suspicious vehicles, trespassing and at least one squatter incident.
Cox said he approached the City of St. George about the problem, but was told there is no money in the budget to tear the complex down.
“They are a fire hazard, and safety hazard,” he said. “I have given up talking to the city and have been posting comments on social media.”
Marc Mortensen, City of St. George assistant city manager, said the actual problem was that the city hasn’t been able to get a hold of the property owner.
“The city has made several attempts to contact him,” he said. These attempts have proven unsuccessful.
This poses a problem because the city wants to afford the property owner due process in the matter. Mortensen said the city has offered to buy the property at fair-market value so it could “abate the nuisance,” – tear the complex down – but has so far run into a snag by not being able to contact him directly
According to the Washington County Recorder’s Office, the property owner resides in Arizona and can only be reached through a P.O. box.
The apartments have been condemned by the city for over a year due to electrical problems. No trespassing signs hang on the sides of the two apartment buildings, and doors and windows have been boarded up.
Also located on the same property are storage units currently in use, though Mortensen said their continued use is in question.
The city is well aware of residents’ complaints, Mortensen said. “You can’t blame the citizens for wanting the property gone,” he said. “(The apartments) have been a continual problem.”
Ultimately, after going through due process the city will have to demolish the apartments, he said.
“The apartments need attention,” Cox said.