SAN ANTONIO - Neighbors say an east side recycling site is a breeding ground for rats and a health hazard for those who live nearby.
A San Antonio judge decided Thursday to give the company an extension in removing the last of its rubble from the property.
City code violations is forcing Ascent Recycling out of the 300 block of Seguin Street. This is the company's fourth location in San Antonio to be slapped with citations.
"They're in violation of several of our city codes. There's a lot of property maintenance issues that they've been cited for repeatedly, not only with the trash and debris in and around their property. They don't have the correct pavement standards, development standards, causing a lot of dust issues for the neighborhoods," Michael Shannon, the Interim Director of Development Services for the City of San Antonio said.
Shannon said they've been working with Ascent Recycling with hopes to get them in compliance for nearly a year. Since the owner didn't make the necessary changes, the city shut the site down.
This follows several previous extensions in multiple court hearings over the past several months.
Neighbors who live in the 300 block of Seguin St. tell us paper and debris fly over the fence of Ascent Recycling and land all across the street.
"We shouldn't have to deal with garbage on our lawns, on our trees, porches, automobiles," neighbor, Joe Sanchez said.
In a previous court hearing, Judge Walsh told Walter to clear out the Seguin Street site by Thursday, March 2. Neighbors tell us employees with Ascent Recycling finally began to clean up two days before the deadline.
"We saw no employees. The only person that was out here yesterday operating the forklift was the actual person leasing the property," Rose Hill, President of the Government Hill Neighborhood Association said.
Hill said the constant truck traffic from the company has nearly driven small businesses nearby to file bankruptcy due to the lack of space on the street for regular traffic.
On top of heavy traffic, Hill said the recycling site created a rodent problem.
"The infestation of rats has been unbearable," she said. "It's a breeding place for the rats."
Hill added that Ascent Recycling placed black boxes were placed up and down Seguin Street to try and trap the rats, however the boxes were removed after she says the company failed to pay pest control.
"He's a bad neighbor," Hill said.
Thursday inside the Bexar County Courthouse, a hearing took place on a motion for contempt filed by the City of San Antonio against Ascent Recycling.
"They were granted 60 days to clean up this mess they left. The city shut them down. They pulled their certificate of occupancy," Hill said. "We're hoping today will be a final resolution and a victory for the residents of this neighborhood of Seguin."
In January, the attorney of Ascent Recycling told us the company was moving to Quesenberry Road on the southwest side.
However, that property was recently annexed into the city limits, and the company was given six more citations for a variety of code violations.
"Would you want your mother living across the street from a piece of crap like this?" Hill asked. "Absolutely not."
Neighbors are working with city council members to create an ordinance banning companies with a string of code violations for five years, in hopes of preventing the same problem in any area of San Antonio.
"We're not gonna be satisfied until they pick up the last piece of plastic or the last piece of trash off that property," Hill said.
Brandon Lopez, the attorney for Ascent Recycling, declined to comment on the issue.
Marc Whyte, the lawyer representing the owner of the Seguin Street property, said Ascent Recycling also owes $49,000 in rent accrued over five months.
Whyte told us Judge Walsh stopped short of holding the owner in contempt, although she was close to doing so in the courtroom.
He says the parties will get together to select a date for the next hearing.
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