Coming down

Demolition of the cottages, located on Market Street, across from the old Rockport city hall, began Monday, Nov. 2. The dilapidated structures have been vacant since Hurricane Harvey. The City of Rockport now has a full staff of code enforcement officers, so owners of uninhabitable structures can plan to be contacted about cleaning up unsightly properties.

Demolition of the cottages at the corner of Market and Pearl streets finally began Monday, Nov. 2, more than three years after Hurricane Harvey rendered them inhabitable.

The low-income housing was located across Market Street from the old Rockport city hall.

“Out issues with those cottages has dragged on for a long time,” said Rockport City Manager Kevin Carruth.

The city had to go through close to 30 steps, or sequences of events, to reach Monday’s conclusion.

“The end result is we had to go to court,” said Carruth. “The court ordered mediation, but that didn’t work.

“We went back to court and it ruled in favor of the city. The owner had to pay the city’s court costs, as well as the costs related to the demolition.”

The city’s code enforcement division began reporting to the Rockport Police Department (RPD) at the end of August. Previously, the division worked under the Building and Development Department.

Some of the benefits of making that change are:

• More enforcement support for codes officers

• Consolidation of related efforts

• Efficiency - patrol can identify codes issues and more quickly refer them to codes officer for action

• Better focus on code issues

• Increased accountability for codes officers and for case management

Code Enforcement personnel will continue to operate primarily out of the Rockport Service Center, but now report to Police Chief Greg Stevens and work closely with police officers at the Aransas County Public Safety Center.

Carruth said the city recently hired two additional code enforcement officers, and problem properties, many of which have not been touched since the storm, will be addressed soon.

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