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Officials to Act on Razing of Garbage-Filled Duplex

August 04, 1988|JESSE KATZ | Times Staff Writer

Other efforts having failed, Camarillo officials say they will seek a court order to allow demolition of the home of a 63-year-old woman who has allowed a mountain of garbage and debris to fill her aging duplex.

Kelton Roberts, who once served on the city's beautification committee, had until Aug. 1 to clear her home of the trash, which is piled in places to within a foot of the ceiling, but Camarillo officials said that no improvement had been made.

"It would take pretty much a miracle now to clear the house," said Shirley Murphy, the city's code enforcement officer.

Roberts, who is staying in an undisclosed hotel, had been camping for the last several years under a tarpaulin outside the home because the structure had grown so decrepit and so full of rubbish, officials said.

The pale stucco house, a block from an upscale shopping center, has been without plumbing, gas or running water, and its kitchen and bathroom fixtures long ago were buried under the trash, they said.

After several verbal warnings to clear the one-story home, city inspectors cited Roberts on April 25 and told her the house would be demolished within 30 days if she did not comply. Roberts challenged the order before the Ventura County Building Appeals Board, which set a deadline of July 25 for the cleaning of the structure's interior.

Camarillo officials postponed that inspection until last Monday, but found the duplex still so full of garbage that they could not even examine the house for structural damage. The roof of the home is peppered with holes, and the interior appears to have suffered from repeated water seepage, said Dick Paddock, the city's building and safety official.

Some volunteer crews have helped Roberts clear her jungle-like front yard of dead foliage in recent weeks as her plight has become publicized. But Roberts, who in the 1960s was a member of Camarillo Beautiful, has refused offers of help to clean the interior.

The house cannot be destroyed without an order from Ventura Superior Court.

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