The city of Lake Elsinore has decided it will give a grandmother added time to show that her property is not a public nuisance.
During a public hearing Tuesday, the city’s Nuisance Abatement Board decided it will grant Lisa Reyes more time to get her 522. N. Riley Street property in order.
If she fails to comply this time around, however, the city will tear the building down.
“We would like to see you be successful Mrs. Reyes,” said Board Chair David Blake.
Although city staff recommended that the board declare the property a public nuisance, Blake and his colleagues listened to all sides Tuesday.
Board member Tom Thomas told Reyes she is not alone in Lake Elsinore, saying there are many properties that need attention. He said the bigger question for the city is, “How do we make changes in Lake Elsinore?”
Lake Elsinore's Community Development Director Grant Taylor sits on the Nuisance Abatement Board and said the city has reinstated the board in an effort to clean up the city and attract new businesses.
Lake Elsinore Code Enforcement Supervisor Fred Lopez showed little leeway Tuesday with Reyes, saying she has been provided ample time to clean up her property but has failed to meet any city deadline.
Reyes, who has operated a tailoring business at the N. Riley Street property, came to the attention of the city in June 2011 following a fire at her site.
The fire was deemed electrical in nature, so the city subsequently declared her building substandard and structure abatement proceedings went forward.
In Oct. 2011, the Lake Elsinore City Council heard an appeal by Reyes and gave her 120 days to come up with a suitable plan. That extension was continued again to May 2012 and a plan to rehab the property was finally submitted and accepted by the city. Construction was to be finalized no later than April 15, 2013.
However, work never commenced and the rehab plans that were approved by the city expired.
Reyes maintained she underwent personal difficulties in recent months, including the death of both her grandson and her husband. She also maintains the June 2011 fire was caused by a Southern California Edison line and not her wiring. She also said she did not know that her rehab plans had an expiration date of one year.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Reyes said she has acquired the services of a general contractor who is now ready to do the work. Julian Ramirez of JLR Development attended Tuesday’s meeting and said he can begin work immediately if the city grants the necessary permits.
However, board member Thomas first asked Reyes pointblank if she has the financial resources to move forward on the rehab.
“It’s a big possibility … yes,” she answered.
According to city staff, the cost to rehab the property is estimated at just over $200,000. Ramirez said he estimates the costs to be approximately $150,000.
The old building dates back decades and although Reyes maintains she keeps the property very clean, the structural issues are of concern to the city.
In granting Reyes more time to get the property shaped up, the board wanted a financial assurance and a timeline. It was agreed that Reyes will provide the city with a $10,000 bond to be forfeited to the city if she fails to get the work done. Additionally, the board wants to see demolition on the building complete by Feb. 21. Ramirez estimated that work on the rehab could be completed in six to seven months, although Lake Elsinore’s Building and Code Enforcement Manager Bill Belvin said Tuesday work could take up to one year.
Ramirez promised there would be no down time.
“Once we get started, we keep on going until it’s completed.”
During Tuesday's hearing, a second property located at 3392 Driftwood Lane was also scheduled on the agenda. City staff is recommending the property be deemed a public nuisance due to trash and debris on the site, as well as dilapidated fencing and building exteriors. It was agreed discussion on that property will be moved to the Feb. 4 Nuisance Abatement Board meeting.