Condemned apartments continue to prove a nuisance

West Cove apartment sign that greets passersby, next to the no trespassing sign warning them to stay out, St. George, Utah, Jan, 13. 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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.

Boarded-up Wast Cove apartments at 100 S 300 West, St. George, Utah, Jan, 13. 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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.

West Cove apartments and storage units in the background, St. George, Utah, Jan, 13. 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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.

Related:

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com
Twitter: @MoriKessler
Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2013, all rights reserved

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13 Comments

  • D Rex January 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Why not pluck that confederate soldier statue in front and make up a story that these were barracks for the confederate soldiers that founded Dixie? There current condition would cause an uproar to preserve their history and heritage to the city, and they could be added to the historical building register.

    • ken January 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Wow your issues run far and deep. Hope you can get over them or get help!

      • D Rex January 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        No money in the city budget to tear them down, despite the fact “They are a fire hazard, and safety hazard,” Seems the city has plenty of money for fireworks

  • Dan Lester January 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    NOTE: I’m not a lawyer. However, there are ways to send registered letters to people, return receipt required, with appropriate legal notice that the city will do appropriate things to seize the property if the owner doesn’t abate the nuisance within 90 days (or whatever).

    If that doesn’t do it, they go through the remaining legal steps and take over the property. I’m not sure if this fits under “eminent domain” or not, but there are certainly laws regarding abating public nuisances.

    The City Attorney’s staff needs to get moving on this. 732w

    • D Rex January 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      What has the city done about those condemned apartments on the mesa on south Bluff street? They’ve been falling apart for years and threatening to slide down the hill. These apartments on 100S 300W have been boarded up for years. Their only tenants are ferile cats. The city seems to move slowly.

      • Zeke January 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        So why does the City need to be taking care of all these private properties? Doesn’t the property owners have some liability? I don’t think the city needs to be holding everyone’s sweaty little hand and ensuring they make everything right with the world. I’m sure there is some legal action that empty properties must comply with, but it is ultimately the private property owners responsibility to act. At some point there might be action taken by the city, but not to the extent of solving everyone’s problems for them.

  • Some resident January 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    And people say dixie downs and the west side is bad, downtown has a lot more slum and decay

  • Downtown Resident January 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    There is so much opportunity to revitalize the downtown area. If the city really wants to bring back the commercial district they have to also invest in revitalizing the downtown housing stock. Living in the center of town should be a prime location. Instead we are becoming a slum. A new park or amusement ride will not revitalize downtown, investing in cleaning it up will. I have one of these properties next to me. The city did tear it down , but now we have a vacant lot with weeds. Neither option is good.

    Our city leaders could take some lessons from Denver and the LowDo project. Different scale, but similar situation.

    Oh wait, none of our leaders have been outside of Southern Utah or have a clue at how to create a real functioning city. Their lies the real problem.

    • D Rex January 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Your city government is not known for being receptive to input from anyone, especially those “outsiders” who may have vast experience from elsewhere. Remember the mayor commenting about outsiders coming here and trying to change things? It was not a comment of welcoming people here.

      Downtown is not interesting. It has old empty buildings that are run down. Very ghetto. There are neighborhoods near the downtown area that give a run down appearance (like these apartments).

      Interesting that the city is quick to issue citations to people who don’t mow their lawns, but will allow the rat trap apartment complex to exist along with the hazard on the hill. You would think a good city government, well versed in legal aspect of abandoned properties or properties not adhering to ordinances or safety concerns ought to know how to resolve those. Oh well, don’t let the weeds grow in your yard, or they’ll come down on you quickly.

      • Alvin January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        There is still time to file for the Mayor position that is open this fall. Sounds like you have it all figured out. Start your campaign now and when elected, you can solve all the problems out there.

  • Annettie Cannavale January 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

    This has been going on since October? I would think the owner’s courtesy lenience period has come and gone by now. The city needs to look at the bigger picture: Having old condemned buildings is an eyesore and makes the community look bad. Tear them down ASAP.

  • Mean momma January 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    D Rex for Mayor! D Rex for Mayor! Btw, I was at Dairy Queen yesterday and they finally demolished some of those condos and the section of motel. Finally doing something over there!

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