Residents in Ballpark neighborhood to file nuisance complaint after vacant house fires

Dec 12, 2022, 10:35 PM | Updated: 10:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Residents in the Ballpark neighborhood of Salt Lake City are fed up after five fires have broken out in two weeks on Major Street.

The street is just south of 1300 South, between State and Main street. Along the street are four vacant homes, all owned by the same property owner. They believe the homes have been vacant for about a year and a half.

Neighbors say they’ve become a big problem since cold weather set in, with transients breaking in. They say they’ve seen drug use, syringes, public indecency, and fires.

Now, they want the city to act. So, they are trying to get the minimum 30 letters from community members to file what’s called a “nuisance abatement,” a process that allows police to take the letters to a city attorney. It’s a legal process that can force a property owner to clean up an area.

About a dozen members of the Ballpark neighborhood, including the chair of the Ballpark Community Council, met at RoHa Brewing Project Monday night to draft letters and come up with future plans.

“We need an emergency order,” Amy J. Hawkins, chair of the Ballpark Community Council, told KSL TV. “We need to see these demolished as soon as possible. These are not safe for human habitation; they cannot be rehabbed.”

Amy J. Hawkins, chair of the Ballpark Community Council.

In the last two weeks, firefighters have responded to five fires on Major Street. The most recent occurred last Saturday. That fire burned one of the homes almost completely to the ground.

“I actually live right around the corner, so when there was a fire there on Saturday, we could see it from our own living room, which is a little unfortunate,” Shawna Cuan said.

Cuan said the neighborhood is tight knit with a vision for the future.

“We know police and fire are doing everything they can, but these properties are just becoming very problematic for the community because the people that own them aren’t really doing anything to take care of them for the community the way the rest of us are trying to do,” Cuan said.

3 vacant house fires spark in one week in SLC’s Ballpark neighborhood

The group must have 30 letters sent it for a nuisance abatement to be considered.

Hawkins said anyone who feels impacted by the danger the homes pose can file a letter; it’s not just people who live there.

Hawkins said letters can be sent to Det. Sam Fallows, the liberty division community liaison officer. They would also like people to copy the Ballpark Community Council.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Residents in Ballpark neighborhood to file nuisance complaint after vacant house fires