Fort Worth sued to stop home demolitions

04/18/2014 5:53 PM

04/18/2014 5:54 PM

A company that purchases and renovates houses is suing the city over a demolition dispute involving two properties it thought it had permission to remodel.

A New Home 4 U filed two lawsuits this week in Tarrant County civil court requesting that temporary restraining orders also be issued to prevent the two houses from being demolished.

The homes are located at 2013 Ash Crescent St. and at 2922 NW 19th St. They were purchased by the company in April and July 2013 in “constable tax sales,” according to the lawsuits.

A representative from the company who declined to give his name to the Star-Telegram said Friday that the city has backed off from its demolition plans.

Assistant City Attorney Gerald Pruitt said Friday that the city is aware of the lawsuits but had not been served and, as a result, couldn’t answer any detailed questions.

“We have reached out to them to see what the dispute is about,” Pruitt said.

In October, the company obtained permits to remodel the houses and at a building standards commission meeting in January were told by a code enforcement officer to proceed with their proposed remodeling projects, the lawsuits state.

They began remodeling the homes, ultimately spending approximately $41,000 on purchasing the properties and renovation costs.

But representatives from the company left the meeting before it was over, Pruitt said. He added that the building standards commission, and not code enforcement officers, approve remodeling plans.

A code enforcement supervisor ultimately rejected the company’s plans and the building standards commission ordered that the homes be demolished, the lawsuit states.

“Our interest is to get productive housing on the market and not to have demolished buildings,” Pruitt said.

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