Yuma County to take owners of junky properties to court; Rose Law Group litigator Olen Lenets comments.

By Mara Knaub | Yuma Sun

Due to continuing non-compliance and ongoing junk on properties located throughout Yuma County, the Board of Supervisors has directed the county attorney to take the property owners to court.

After reviewing several individual cases presented by zoning staff, the supervisors agreed that the next step is for the county attorney to seek an order of abatement in Superior Court.

According to photos presented to the supervisors, the parcels appeared to have “junk” that included trash, inoperable vehicles, mattresses, discarded furniture, debris and overgrown and dry bushes. Some allegedly had multiple RVs hooked up in their yards and people living in them, more than allowed by law. Another property owner is reportedly salvaging and recycling without a permit.

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“Although money is often the driving force behind (or against) litigation, the situation Yuma is facing here is one of the rare exceptions where the threat of fines or sanctions is unlikely to compel the property owners into compliance. Often times, those responsible for the junk are simply physically unable to resolve the issue.

A fine will not provide them the requisite strength to fix the problem, and the amount of the fine is likely insignificant to provoke any further steps towards compliance.  

Alternatively, many owners have abandoned the property, and cannot be brought in for a hearing because the City is unable to serve them. COVID has not done any favors to the City or these owners. The City desires voluntary compliance from the property owners, it is unlikely these current measures will achieve that result.”

Olen Lenets, Rose Law Group Litigator
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