Socorro vacates order requiring Coker Road residents to fix or vacate homes

Home damaged by floods on Coker Road in Socorro, Texas (KFOX14)

The city of Socorro has vacated an order that was set to force residents living on flood-prone Coker Road to fix their homes or leave within four months.

Commissioners had voted on Jan. 23 to give residents 120 days to make improvements to their homes or vacate the property. The improvements would be for things such as mold, dilapidation and unsafe living areas, as determined by city inspectors. Each homeowner was responsible for paying for these nuisances, and if they didn’t, the city would put a lien on their home.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which is representing those residents, said the city agreed to vacate the order.

“City employees misrepresented their principal reason for visiting the homes in order to obtain consent to enter without a warrant,” said Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney Christopher Benoit. “They obtained evidence through illegal, warrantless searches of their homes in violation of the Texas Constitution. Now the city is trying to use the nuisance process to obtain our clients' property for public use without paying just compensation, which we believe is required under the Texas Constitution.”

The order on Wednesday from Socorro’s Building & Standards Commission said that the Jan. 23 order “relating to the Property is hereby vacated in its entirety, including any deadlines under the same,” according to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

“The city is trying to take our homes without compensating us,” said Rick Avalos, a resident on Coker Road. “We’re supposed to give up our homes and any hope of being able to finance replacements for them? It’s ridiculous and an injustice.”

Coker Road flooded 11 times this past monsoon season. The residents had said the city should help them get into new homes, or at least buy their property, since flooding is what caused the damage.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off