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Time running out for Sunnyside area land owner to clean up his property

A notice of abatement mandating a property owner clean up his property was deemed valid by the Yakima County commissioners at a meeting held yesterday.

Yakima County Code Enforcement officers have been dealing with Ozuna Ventura Jr.'s property at 1101 Rouse Road near Sunnyside since 2006, Yakima County Building Official David Saunders told the commissioners.

What's in question is two parcels of Ventura's land. One piece is occupied by several buildings that are deemed unsafe. The other parcel owned by Ventura is full of junk cars, piles of debris and other nuisances.

Saunders said that by holding a public hearing on the issue yesterday it confirms that the county has exhausted all of its processes to get the property cleaned up.

Ventura did not show up at the hearing.

A notice of abatement was served on Ventura Oct. 21 and he had 30 days to start the process of complying with the order.

Saunders said an effort has been made on Ventura's behalf to clean up the parcel with the debris on it but so far the unsafe buildings have been left untouched.

Since Ventura began work to clean up his property, he will have until Dec. 21 to complete the work.

If the work hasn't been completed county officials can then order the work done and charge it to Ventura. If he refuses to pay a lien may be placed on his property and the county could eventually foreclose on it to recover taxpayers' money.

The commissioners also expressed interest in going after Ventura for the cost of county employees hours spent on bringing him into compliance.

Saunders added that the Yakima County Sheriff's Office has received 51 complaints of criminal activity on Ventura's property since 1994. Forty of those calls have been fielded since 2000.

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