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How to get dumping cleaned up

An empty lot in one south-side neighborhood is filled with trash. Neighbors said they have called the city and the property owners with no response.

SAN ANTONIO — It takes not only a lot of elbow grease, but also a lot of patience to get a private property susceptible to constant dumping cleaned up. 

“It’s just continuous trash,” says Eva, who lives next to a property near I-37 and Southcross that has a lot of trash on it. 

Even though Eva and her two children normally avoid walking on a path on the lot next door, they can't help seeing it. Even a privacy fence didn't help obscure the trash, which includes bottles, beer and boxes strewn about the property. 

 That's only part of the problem. The lot isn't just dirty; it's dangerous. 

 “You can see this (is) where people with the drug use come,” Eva said. “They sit here, they have the tarp there to kind of cover so people don’t see what they’re doing. You can see a syringe right there. This is the stuff we deal with.”

Eva said it's an ongoing issue with no solution in sight. Calls to the property owner and the city go unanswered.

“I’ve called them numerous times,” Eva said. “Out of the whole eight years I’ve lived here, they’ve come out maybe twice to actually clean.”

Records show the Dollar General behind the lot owns the property. The city recently issued a violation and gave the owners 10 calendar days to clean up. That day came and went; the trash did not budge. 

Amin Tohmaz, with the city's Development Services Department, said Dollar General got more time.

“He said he’d signed the contract with the contractors to clean up the lot,” he said. “If we see progress or if we see the owner is showing us that they are willing to do it and they need another week or 10 days, normally we issue that extension.”

 “I do want to see all this trash removed,” Eva said.

And stay gone. Eva said the lot never stays clean for long.

 “From plastic bottles, to just your everyday trash, just everything,” she said.

The city said repeat violators no longer get a warning. Instead, they can immediately get a citation that comes with a fine of between $300 and $1,000 a day. 

The city also has the ability to take violators to criminal court.  

It leaves Eva wondering if it is a high enough price to keep it clean. She feels her family has already paid enough.

Dollar General issued a statement that said:  

“We strive to be a positive business partner and good community neighbor and are currently working to resolve store standard issues at our East Southcross Boulevard store.”

The city said the lot will be cleaned on Wednesday and will be reinspected shortly after.

Call 311 or use the 311 app to report dumping at properties. Code enforcement is required to check out all complaints within three days.

If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@kens5.com or call us at 210-377-8647.