Highgrove neighborhood fed up with trash, unsanitary conditions on nearby property

Leticia Juarez Image
Friday, December 20, 2019
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Neighbors have been complaining about a Highgrove property that is covered with discarded garbage and abandoned vehicles.

HIGHGROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- For more than four years, Rochelle Mendoza has been calling Riverside County officials about her neighbor's property a few doors down from her Highgrove home.

The property in question resembles a junkyard with discarded boats, cars and mountains of discarded rubbish covering it.

"Piles and piles of trash, dozens and dozens of feral cats that looked starved. It smells like feces," said Mendoza.

Mendoza said there is also a homeless encampment on the property and despite her repeated calls to code enforcement and other local leaders, nothing has happened.

"I get no responses. I get no help, I've begged for help," said Mendoza.

She thought that was all about to change when in May when real estate investors bought the home that had $21,000 in back taxes owed on it.

Joanne Bragg and her nephew are the investors who bought the home in the hopes of renovating it and then flip it for a profit.

"I have probably had over a 100 agents show this and had very few offers.... they think it is never going to sell with this next door," said Bragg.

Bragg said when she bought the property with the agreement included that the owner would move her belongings out, which the owner did, but to the adjacent property she owned.

A search of property records show dozens of code enforcement citations going back to 2004. There are currently two open cases against the property owner, one for abatement and another for neighborhood enforcement.

Eyewitness News reached out to Riverside County regarding the property on Prospect Avenue. They responded with this statement:

"The Riverside County code enforcement department has open cases related to the land use violations at this property. Code Enforcement will be working collaboratively with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department to work with the property owner to clean up the property and all violations."

In general for all code enforcement violations, property owners are given 30 to 45 days to clear them on their own before the code department takes additional actions. Additional actions may include involving County Counsel for litigation until the property is cleaned up.

Records show the most recent code enforcement violations were issued this past September.

"We got September, October, November, December... we're four months. Four months and what has happened to those violations?" asked Bragg.

Mendoza said she is tired of waiting and wants the county to take action. She also blames the property for the rise in crime in her neighborhood.

She said she has had two attempted home invasions in the past year, her vehicle has been vandalized and has had mail stolen.

Eyewitness News tried to find the owner to get her comments but we were unable to find her on the property.