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Trash Heaps Pile Up at Abandoned Houses

July 27, 2008

By Brooke Edwards, Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

Jul. 27–VICTORVILLE — An abandoned housing project has become a dump site over the last year, creating an eyesore and threatening to devalue properties in Baldy Mesa.

“Who’s going to buy a home right across the street from that?” asked property owner Maria Diniz, showing picture after picture of the trash that’s been left at the site, across the street from the house she rents out to her best friend on Olivine Road.

Victoria Homes began approaching homeowners in the neighborhood in 2005, offering to buy their property outright or get them into one of the new homes being built. Diniz said several of her neighbors took them up on it.

Though she didn’t sell, Diniz said she did meet with representatives from Victoria Homes to get information about the project and was excited about the environmentally friendly aspect of their plans.

“I thought it would be nice to have something like that come into the community,” Diniz said.

Instead, Victoria Homes apparently pulled out of the project.

The Web site and phone number for Victoria Homes are no longer active.

Owner Paul Osborne’s contractor’s license expired in December of 2005, according to records with the Contractors State License Board, and he did not respond to a request for comment.

Victorville’s City Clerk Carolee Bates reported that the last inspection on the property was done in October of 2006.

Everette and Charlotte Harvey, who live on nearby Baldy Mesa Road, had been debating over whether to sell to Victoria Homes when the project went under. Everette Harvey said he’s surprised no one has come to tear down the framed walls that went up.

The company came back for its expensive equipment in the winter, Diniz said, but left behind tarps, broken buckets, piles of sandbags and other rotting construction materials.

Now Diniz has given up hope that the property owners are coming back and has started trying to get the site cleaned up through the city, concerned about the quality of life for her tenant and friend.

Bates said the city’s Code Enforcement Department already has a case opened on the property, but that they will do a new investigation. This involves tracking down the property owner — which is likely now a bank — and giving notice that they need to clean up the site.

Anyone with information or complaints about the site is encouraged to contact Code Enforcement at 955-5104.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

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