Apr 25, 2013 8:01 PM by Chris Welty

Man is Fighting to Save his Neighborhood

A Lafayette man says his neighborhood is being taken over by "slum lords" and blighted property.

Jimmy LeBouef lives on Chester Street in Upper Lafayette off of Moss Street, one block away from Northside High. He wants blighted houses in his neighborhood condemned and is asking the city to help.

While shooting this story, we caught an alleged drug bust on Pine Street. Homeowners say they're tired of drugs, blighted properties and crime.

"We're at a loss here. How can we fight? We go to neighbors and landlords and they say no," said LeBouef.

He's owned his home on Chester Street for several years and says he's not leaving. LeBouef is sick and tired of what he calls "slumlords taking over his neighborhood and declining property values."

"If you want slums, lets just turn it into the slums."

Though homes may be falling apart or vandalized, it's a long process before they're condemned.

"We have to follow the state statute, we have to send letters or get the marshal's office to deliver and we have to give them their right to repair the problem," said Larry Manuel with Planning, Zoning and Codes.

Homeowners have 90 days to comply and fix the violation, but a property can be condemned immediately under certain circumstances.

"It has to be a hazard such as being open or if the seals are rotten, if it's structurally unsound," said Manuel.

LeBouef is working with the city and council to come up with an ordinance and solution to this ongoing battle.

According to the Department of Planning, Zoning and Coders, in Lafayette Parish, eight hundred properties are violating code. Some of them are minor, but at least 50 of the 800 properties are condemned. Larry Manuel with LCG says blighted properties are an issue even in the most prominent neighborhoods.

If you would like to report a blighted property, call planning and zoning at
(337) 291-8445.

Chris Welty



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