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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : City Council Votes to Annex Area Neglected by Slumlord

July 10, 1993|JOHN CHANDLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALMDALE — After a spirited debate, the City Council voted to begin annexing a local neighborhood, where a convicted Los Angeles slumlord owns 72 decrepit rental houses.

In a 4-1 vote to begin the months-long process, council members said Thursday that the city is better equipped to combat the area's many code violations. Los Angeles County officials after two years have won little cooperation from the property's owner, Milton Avol, a physician. Many of Avol's houses have been boarded up.

"This is a lousy area in many respects," Councilman Joe Davies said. 'This may be an opportunity for the city that enhances that area, and the city in general."

Councilman Jim Root was the lone dissenter, arguing the city ought to focus on its own problems first. "When an area deteriorates, they want to dump it back on us," he said of the county, which has jurisdiction over the area.

"I have problems putting that responsibility back on the residents of this city," Root said.

Avol's houses, near Avenue P-12 between Division Street and 3rd Street East, are part of 116 acres, surrounded by the city, that the council voted to pursue for annexation.

Avol's houses have been plagued in the past by septic tanks that overflow, spilling raw sewage onto the ground; building code violations and vermin infestations, county officials said. County crackdowns have resulted in many tenants departing, leaving half the area looking like a ghost town.

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