An Idea to Clean Up Poor Housing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/4/04

An Idea to Clean Up Poor Housing

Lubbock Fire inspectors say a corroded pipe ruptured on the 13th floor of the Park Tower around 10 p.m. Monday night. 300 residents were evacuated. A tenant took pictures from inside. She told us about two inches of water that covered the floors. She also said ceiling tiles were floating in the water and the elevator was shut down. A day later, carpet cleaners spent the day cleaning up the mess.

Which raises the question, should places like this be inspected so disasters like this do not happen? We found that the City of Lubbock does not require inspections.

Cloetta Shotts spent years working for the Lubbock City Codes Department."There's all kinds of fire hazards and health hazards with this building. It's connected so if you were to have a fire here, you are going to effect the occupants on the end," she said.

Shotts recognizes what she calls a "cancer" to the city and she wants to see it fixed. "We can't allow any part of our city to fall so far behind that they're living under bad conditions."

Shotts took us through a neighborhood in North Lubbock that has questionable housing. For instance, rental houses that are falling apart. Shotts says people should not be subjected to dilapidated living quarters and that the city needs to adopt an ordinance to prevent poor housing for Lubbock residents.

Her idea is to have an occupancy ordinance in place that makes home owners, landlords, and apartments keep their buildings up to codes before another occupant moves in. "We need to have control over the quality of housing. Right now, there's no code that will do that," she said.

Jennifer Mason is a tenant at Park Towers. The high rise apartment on Avenue Q that was flooded by a ruptured pipe. She thinks the city needs to put some kind of policy in place to hold landlords and home owners accountable. "As a student you have to rent. I need a reasonable place to live and I don't think it's too much to ask to have management maintain their property properly," said Jennifer.

As for Shotts, she's still working on her occupancy ordinance. But she feels it needs to be put in place before more housing becomes unsafe for future residence.

You may think that Shotts has brought this to attention because she's running for City Council District 1, but she said she proposed this idea back in 1995.

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