• January 30, 2015

Owner still working to stop demolition of homes

Application for temporary restraining order filed against Harker Heights

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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 4:30 am

HARKER HEIGHTS — The owner of 19 Lynn Drive houses slated to be demolished soon filed an application for a temporary restraining order and injunction against the city to stop the demolition.

The plaintiff is listed as Harker Heights Condominiums LLC, owned by David Buttross of Austin, according to court documents.

Buttross and Harker Heights have been at odds since the city inspected the properties in March and deemed them health and safety hazards.

Buttross claims he has “jumped through hoops” to renovate the houses as required by the city. He believes the city is prejudiced against minorities and people with low incomes and that is the true reason the houses are being demolished.

“If they don’t want poor people or minorities to live in Harker Heights, just tell me,” Buttross said Monday.

In December, the Harker Heights City Council approved a contract for demolition of the houses, leading Buttross to submit a detailed renovation plan for the city to review. Earlier this month, the Harker Heights Planning and Development Department rejected the plan and ordered the demolition company to move forward.

Buttross responded by filing an asbestos complaint against Harker Heights with the Texas State Department of Health Services, which required the city to perform an asbestos survey on the houses set for demolition.

Buttross maintains he made an earnest effort to repair the houses in the time frame given by the city. However, the city said he did not meet the deadlines they gave him to repair the houses and bring them up to code.

The initial time frame given Buttross in March was for two units to be repaired every two months over the course of an 18-month period, court documents stated.

In August, no repair work had been completed, so Buttross was given 60 to 90 days to repair all the units, according to the city.

Buttross said the city did not allow him to pull permits for some of the renovation work he attempted on Lynn Drive and that kept him from completing the work within the time frame.

“Every time we try to pull a permit, they say no,” he said. “They keep saying they don’t like the plan.”

Heights Planning and Development Director Fred Morris said Thursday that he and City Manager Steve Carpenter were advised by the city attorney not to comment on the restraining order and injunction application, which was filed Jan. 10 in the 146th District Court in Belton.

“A hearing has been set for Feb. 1,” Morris said.

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  • 7gentxn posted at 9:18 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    7gentxn Posts: 32

    Having rented from Buttross Properties many years ago in Austin I can say from experience the they care ONLY about collecting rent and NOTHING about upkeep.
    I STRONGLY urge the HH council to stand fast against Buttross and demolish these houses.

  • Mamma Griz posted at 8:38 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    Mamma Griz Posts: 259

    This guy seems to be running things. I have spoken with a gal that used to live in one of those dilapidated chicken coops and she said that even calling them chicken coops is too good a description.

    It's a shame that the guy seems to have so much pull-- and the latrine lawyers and judges are helping him to keep the quality of the city down. And the state is letting him and his latrine lawyers and judges run the show.

    Oh well, RHIP.