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Elk Grove Suing Property Owner Over Problem Home

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Outrage from neighbors in Elk Grove about a problem property on their street and the city is now suing that property's owner.

It's been years of problems, according to residents, who say it's not just noise and poor upkeep, but the illegal activity that's disturbing their peaceful neighborhood.

The city attorney says it's rare for the city to file a nuisance abatement lawsuit against a property, but it decided to take legal action after the property received more than 100 complaint calls in the last year, and the city spent 570 hours of service responding to not only code violations, but crimes as well.

They're beautiful homes on a well-manicured street, but there's one property on Demonte Way in Elk Grove that's causing a neighborhood-wide nuisance.

Homeowner Marcia Barclay describes living two doors down from the property as "hell." The home has been the subject of more than a dozen police calls in the past year alone.

"We can't let the kids play outside anymore," said Barclay.

Barclay says neighbors have been complaining for years. Now, the City of Elk Grove is stepping in and suing the property's owner.

Elk Grove City Councilman Pat Hume said, "We felt we had to be proactive and take as aggressive of steps as we can, in order to engage the property owners to be responsive."

Inside a lawsuit filed Tuesday is a laundry list of complaints, including domestic violence calls, drug arrests, traffic constantly coming and going, stolen property arrests, aggressive and unsupervised animals, and even a registered sex offender sharing a home with unrelated children. There was also a shooting in the front of the property that sent a bullet flying into a neighbor's bedroom.

Art Del Carmene, who lives across the street, has installed cameras on his home, saying his family feels unsafe.

"That's scary. I don't like that," said Del Carmene.

The home is being rented out to multiple families and tenants. We're told between six and nine people currently live inside. At a city council meeting last month, the neighbors expressed their concerns, and weeks later, Elk Grove police set up a mobile unit right outside the home, conducting 24-hour surveillance on the property. Tenants inside told CBS13 they are the ones being harassed.

"Who says that they're better than us and they deserve to be here, and we don't?" asked one tenant.

The property owner is being sued for $25,000 in civil penalties by the city. City officials say their goal is to abate the nuisance and to get the owner to comply with the laws, to hopefully allow some peace in the neighborhood.

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