The city says the home is a public nuisance. There was a court order in February and then last week the city gave the homeowners an abatement letter saying that they would come on Monday, April 1 to clean up the mess if they didn't like what they saw.
City inspectors accompanied by police arrived at Mark Klaiber's home to begin their walk through. Waiting in the wings was a clean-up crew to haul away debris from his front yard. Klaiber's wife Kim and their son watched anxiously.
Before they were ordered by the courts in February to clean up their property, the front yard of the Lindbergh Street home was littered with debris. The city called it "an unsanitary hazardous dumping ground that needed to be cleaned up in 30 days."
"They were given more than enough time beyond the 30 days that the court ordered," said Lance Bayor from the San Mateo City Attorney's Office.
On Monday, the front yard looked much neater. The Klaibers spent the last month taking loads of junk to the dump, hoping to satisfy the judge's order.
"If they don't like what they see, then they're going to have an independent contractor come in and take out whatever it is they want to take out," said Mark Klaiber, the San Mateo homeowner.
So, the inspection began. The walk through included the back yard where construction equipment and supplies were covered with a large tarp. Klaiber, a contractor by trade, has been remodeling his house for the past 10 years. He's been faced with numerous code violations during that time. Klaiber even lived in a tent on his lawn for a while, after the city red-tagged his home. The city declared the tent illegal as well.
Klaiber injured his back and has been out of work for a year. He says money and health are the reasons the extensive renovation has taken so long.
"I'm not trying to buck the system. I'm not trying to do something that's illegal," said Mark.
The inspection lasted about a half hour. For Klaiber and his family every minute was filled with angst.
"Enough is enough is enough, enough, enough," said Mark to city staff. "You guys are causing so much stress, you don't know."
After conferring with each other, city staff reached a decision. They said they weren't totally happy with the cleanup, but it was good enough.
"It appears according to city staff, they're in substantial compliance with the court's order," said Bayor.
However, the Klaibers' plight is not over yet. The city is threatening to get a permanent injunction, ordering the Klaibers to finish construction of their house by a certain date, or else. The Klaibers will meet with the city next Thursday to discuss this newest legal threat.
San Francisco app to report code enforcement issues:
If you notice a house in San Francisco that has a lot of debris and is a public nuisance, you can now report it with the touch of a button. The City Attorney's Office launched a new smartphone app for telling City Hall about neighborhood nuisances to streamline the reporting system process. It is available for the iPhone, Android devices, or anything with an Internet connection.