BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)  – The Kern County code compliance department is trying to eradicate derelict buildings that have become homeless magnets – one nuisance abatement order at a time.

The latest to get the county’s attention is on Alta Vista Drive just north of Columbus Street – a small strip mall not far from the Tam O’Shanter restaurant.

County staff is recommending the building be demolished and that the property owner pay for it. But county officials tell KGET the property owner, Anwar Alhelow, has informed them he wants to save what’s left of the structure and rebuild. 

The matter will be decided at Tuesday afternoon’s Board of Supervisors meeting, when Alhelow and county staff members are scheduled to state their respective cases — save it or raze it.

Vince Walk lives directly across the street from what’s left of the strip mall and he’s rooting for the county staff’s recommendation to prevail. In any case he says he’ll be overjoyed that something will finally be done. 

He says a homeless couple appears to be living in an old rental truck behind the property. 

He says the couple also appears to be in possession of different bicycles at different times, which they sell in a nearby parking lot.

“(I’m) very happy,” he said. “(There’s) drug activity, transients, lots of trash, as you can tell, from over there.”

KGET was unable to get a hold of the building’s owner as of Thursday afternoon.