Automotive

Homeowner accused of front yard auto repairs clears vehicles

Some Southwest Side homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief after San Antonio Code Enforcement officers forced the removal of nearly a dozen vehicles from their neighbor’s property. He’d been accused of running an auto repair shop in his front yard.

“We got a neighbor down here that runs a junk yard you might as well say,” Jerry Owens said.

For the past several years, people living on Seashell Place on the city’s Southwest Side say their neighbor’s home has looked a mess. We counted twelve cars in the front yard back in September and several others believed to be in his possession on the street.

“I mean, all you see is junk vehicles out here blocking both sides of the road,” Owens said.

Here’s what happened when we confronted the owner known by many as ‘Franco.’

Reporter Darian Trotter asked, “Are you the owner?”

“I’m the owner,” Franco replied.

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The 39-year old explained that all twelve vehicles in his yard belong to family members and that he is not running a business.

“I didn’t know it was illegal to work on your own vehicles,” Franco said. “I’m sorry. I’m my own mechanic, but I don’t do it as a living.”

The second time we met up with Franco he showed us a handful of tickets he’d gotten from San Antonio Police for parking inoperable vehicles on the street. He’s received a total of 18, plus three citations from Code Enforcement for operating a business in a residential neighborhood.

Franco says he’s being singled out.

“I’m pretty sure if I go down every block, there’s cars that are on blocks that are being worked on. How come everybody else doesn’t get a fine like me?” Franco asked.

After weeks of citations, complaints from neighbors and being the focus of a our investigation, Franco has had a change of heart.

“Well, they made some progress cleaning things up as you can see. They got rid of a bunch of vehicles out there,” Owens said.

As previously reported, Code Compliance officers have conducted regular inspections. They say while there’s been significant progress, the home is still not 100% in compliance.

Neighbor Jerry Owens says it’s a welcomed change.

“They’ve made some progress out there,” Owens said. “They’re out there trying to get it cleaned up a little bit.”

Franco said, “I don’t really, I don’t really care too much about what my neighbor says about me because at the end of the day, my neighbor don’t pay my bills.”

Both Code Compliance and SAPD officers will continue to monitor the situation and work with the residents.

Written by Darian Trotter

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