Property owner complains illegal dumping, on his land, is his responsibility to clean

A home builder, in Houston's Acres Homes neighborhood, is learning a difficult civics lesson as he battles people dumping on his property and city code that appears to punish him, for it.

JG Builders bought the undeveloped stretch of woods, on James Franklin Street, a year ago, with plans to build dozens of affordable new homes that will bring in-demand inventory to the market.

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Unfortunately, the property is getting bigger for all the wrong reasons. Over several weeks, hundreds of yards of soil and debris have been dumped on the parcel of land.

JG Builders owner Johnny Hollins says he called Houston's Department of Neighborhoods, to file a complaint, when he discovered it was happening, and says it just got worse.    

"Even while the city investigator was here, they were blowing their horn for him to remove his vehicle so they could come in and dump the loads," says Hollins, "They were really brazen with it."

Hollins thinks it started with a small property around the corner, from him, that's also being developed.

According to Hollins, the second developer said they asked for dirt to be dumped from the same hauler that was leaving loads on Hollins' property.

"We took down as many license plates as we could, along with drivers' information, and turned that over to the city investigator," says Hollins, "(He) told us it's still dumped on our property and we're going to be responsible for removing it."

In a statement to Fox 26, the Houston Department of Neighborhoods insists the dirt is Johnny Hollins' problem.

In part, saying, "Per state and municipal codes property owners are legally responsible for correcting any code violations found on their property.  

In certain cases such as this one, our inspectors work with property owners, allowing them reasonable time to bring their properties into code compliance."

It's not enough to solve the dirty deeds on Johnny Hollins' property. "I'm the only loser," he says, "I think, with all the information I've given them, and knowing who the culprit was that something should be done about it."

Neither the second developer nor the hauling company identified by Hollins responded to calls from Fox 26.

Meantime, the Houston Police Department Environmental Investigations Unit is looking into the complaint.

The department says citations could be issued if wrong-doing is found.

That could be the start of getting someone to remove all the dirt that is in the way of Johnny Hollins' construction project.