Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Trouble spots in Albuquerque targeted by city

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – There is another push from the city to get rid of boarded-up houses that are magnets for trouble. The city has hundreds of them, but getting them torn down is a difficult task.

The city council has added four more problem properties to its list. Neighbors who live around them say it’s about time something gets done.

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People in Albuquerque know the familiar sights: boarded-up doors, trash and weeds, and broken windows. Neighbors say these problem properties are more than just an eyesore. “It’s been a big nuisance. People break all the time. People camp here. People use it as an outhouse. Just all kinds of unsafe practices going on,” says Larry Zambello, who works near one of these problem properties.

It’s a problem the city has been trying to tackle, but it’s daunting: around 300 problem properties sit on a list the Planning Department’s Code Enforcement team is trying to resolve, and it can be a slow process. It may take years for the city to exhaust all legal steps before moving on to demolition.

Even then, it can take a while. The city council signed off on demolishing a property near downtown in August of 2020, but it wasn’t brought down until almost six months later. The city’s website shows in 2020 and 2021, the cases against 33 property owners came to an end.

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Twenty-three of those ended with a demolition by either the city or the owner. Ten were fixed up. Now, properties on San Mateo near Kathryn, Chama near Central, by Gibson and I-25, and near Pat Hurley Park are on the chopping block.

Neighbors who live around them are on board with the possibility of demolition. “It’s just been nothing but a nuisance…Some of the vagrants go through my dumpster and tear my garbage bags open. And it’s just a big nuisance…It would be great if there was some sort of development that benefitted everyone,” Zambello says.

If the resolutions are approved, the owners of these properties have ten days after they’ve been served with an order to tear them down themselves. If the owners refuse to tear them down, the city can do it and put a lien on the property to make them pick up the demolition cost. The demo usually runs about $25,000 dollars.

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