Neighbors living in a cul-de-sac in a quiet suburban neighborhood said they were glad to see city officials taking a homeowner to task over numerous safety violations, including an open sewage pit in the backyard and illegally built structures where people were living.
Nathan Wantland said he wasn’t concerned about his safety but worried about his 10-year-old daughter as he sees people he doesn’t recognize walking along the street and “busted up cars” coming and going from the house.
Wantland, whose home is adjacent to the property with safety violations, said it is difficult to see into the backyard, and when he moved into his home almost two years ago, there was only one structure behind the home.
But the building of structures continued.
Wantland said he has had rodents and that he and his family sometimes smell the sewage.
Earlier this month, Chandra Gupta, who was named in a lawsuit along with his son Sachin for allowing unsafe conditions at 3009 Glenwood Court, was ordered to demolish the buildings and to have the tenants move out “immediately.”
The two-story home was built on Glenwood Court in 1977, according to Tarrant Appraisal District records. The 2,800-square-foot home features a combination of wood and tile exterior walls, as well as a tile driveway, several yard statues and at least two dozen planting pots in the front yard.
The house looks deceptively small from the front of the cul-de-sac, but the wedge-shaped property fans out much wider in the back of the house, which backs up to the intersection of Martin Road and Cummings Street in north Bedford, just north of the city’s border with Colleyville.
From the front of the house, passers-by can’t see much of the construction that has taken place in the rear of the property. As a result, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been unable to reach and attempt to interview any residents still living in the collection of small cottages, a mobile home or other tiny structures built in the back yard.
During a two-hour visit to the neighborhood Feb. 25, the Star-Telegram didn’t detect much activity in or around the two-story home, but was able to speak with several neighbors.
The suit alleged that the Guptas had repeated zoning, health and safety code violations, which included open sewage pits and dangerous electrical wiring where extension cords with open splices were strung between the buildings.
Gupta built structures –including enclosing a gazebo built over an empty swimming pool that he leased to tenants. There were also coverings over two recreational vehicles where people were living, according to court documents.
Gupta has until March 8 to get rid of the buildings and clean up his property before the city brings in contractors to do the work.
But Chandra Gupta, who is representing himself, said in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he no longer owns the home, and said he is appealing his case to the 2nd Court of Appeals.
However, the court responded in a letter to Gupta that his appeal notice was “defective” and that the case will be dismissed unless he submitted the necessary information by March 5.
“Long story short, while I was the owner of the property I got permits for all structures and the city wants to demolish them as well. That is gross injustice,” Gupta wrote.
‘I emphasize, I sold the property 2+ years ago and the city is suing me unlawfully. I am sure the appeals court will see that very obvious evidence.”
Gupta added that he believed the lower court erred in its decision.
Tarrant Appraisal records show that Sachin Gupta has owned the property since 2018 with Chandra owning it before that time.
The Guptas said they are both living in California.
‘Gravity of the situation’
Bedford’s City Manager Jimmy Stathatos said Gupta has not complied with the court order to remove the structures and clean up the property.
“I don’t think he (Gupta) realizes the gravity of the situation or that we are serious,” Stathatos said.
When asked about the tenants, Stathatos said that is beyond the city’s jurisdiction.
“We have to make sure that Mr. Gupta has a chance to satisfy the judge’s order,” he said.
According to Bedford’s lawsuit, ownership was transferred between Gupta and his son, Sachin, so that officials couldn’t move forward with code enforcement actions.
During the Feb. 3 court hearing, Bedford’s code enforcement and building officials described numerous violations including open sewage pits and dangerous electrical wiring where extension cords with open splices were strung between the buildings.
District judge Don Cosby said 30 days was enough time for Gupta to remove the structures.
During the hearing, Cosby also said “I’m sorry for the people living there. It sounds like they are struggling. It’s not safe for people residing there, it’s not safe for neighbors,” he said.
Cosby added that he is concerned that if the structures aren’t removed, Gupta will continue to look for tenants. He said the tenants are not parties in the lawsuit and that they need to find a place to live.
Meanwhile, the neighbors living near Gupta’s home said they are glad that something is being done.
Lauren Johnson said, “The property is an eyesore” and he is glad the city is stepping in to enforce the violations.
Wantland said when he first moved to the neighborhood, he saw one structure in Gupta’s backyard, but structures continued to be built on the property. When he moved to the neighborhood and met Gupta, he said “he seemed nice enough.”
But he watched the court hearing and couldn’t believe what he saw when photos were shown of Gupta’s property.
“We had no idea that it was so disgusting. It was shocking,” he said.