An Inland Empire city council could soon inspect homes in an effort to weed out marijuana grow houses. The decision is being debated in Eastvale, where investigators have uncovered more than 20 grow homes this year. Tony Shin reports from Eastvale for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 23, 2013.
More than 20 at-home pot grows have been discovered in Eastvale so far this year, part of a growing problem that has city leaders creating new legislation to staunch marijuana production.
Under a recently passed ordinance, property owners in the Riverside County city of 53,000 will have to register their rentals.
"So we have a good list and create a good database of all of the tenants and rental properties in our city," said Adam Rush, Eastvale mayor pro tem.
City Council members are poised to vote on a second ordinance that would allow the city to inspect a rental property if there is any suspicion of illegal activity. Landlords and tenants would be given a two-week warning.
"We're not busting down people's doors. We're not entering property without permission," Rush said.
Realtor Kathy Walker said the city has made some positive changes to combat the illegal operations, but disagrees with the inspection ordinance.
"If they are paying the rent and taking care of the property, they're not doing something illegal but they're being singled out," said Walker, with the Inland Gateway Association of Realtors.
Still, supporters said the threat of possible inspections would likely drive pot growers out of Eastvale.
Jose Ruiz lives across the street from a home on Mayfield Street where investigators busted a pot grow with 140 mature plants. The father of two said he’s angry that drug dealers brought their business to his neighborhood.
"It’s a shame," he said. "And all the chemicals they use, all the electricity they use, it could have caught the house on fire."
The Eastvale City Council is set to vote on the second ordinance Wednesday.
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