'Notorious drug den' in Petaluma declared public nuisance

A home in the North Bay has been declared a public nuisance, after it generated  almost 800 complaints to police in five years. 

Neighbors say the home in the 1600 block of Weaverly Drive is a notorious drug den, and they are hoping for relief now that the property is under court control and must be vacated.

"Traffic there is a nightmare, people coming in and out all hours of the night, " said one longtime neighbor, "and we find hypodermic needles and pipes and drugs in our yards." 

She was uneasy about sharing her name, but other neighbors don't hesitate to speak freely about the activity they've seen.

"It's an endless stream of people parked in front of our house, dealing drugs and doing drugs," complained neighbor Josh Wilson, who moved in less than a year ago.

"I did not think I had to worry about a crack house when I was buying a place in suburban Petaluma," he declared.

Early Monday morning, heavily-armed police arrived at the house with a warrant for 54 year old Kyle Richardson.

The house has been in his family for decades, and associated with trouble for as long as anyone can remember.

"You can get anything you want in that house," observed next-door neighbor Chris Meyer, " and we've seen lots of people arrested for methamphetamine right on our sidewalk."

There have been 45 drug arrests at the property in five years.

Many neighbors, including the Meyers, have surveillance cameras recording the activity night and day.
They've seen visitors bold enough to stray into adjoining yards, and police have been called to the Weaverly address almost 200 times in 2017.

"They definitely do their best, and the dispatchers are always patient with us, " smiled Melissa Meyer.
Richardson's arrest, she says, was a sight the neighborhood had been waiting for.

He already faces drug charges dating back to a January warrant and seizure. Monday, new allegations were added, related to methamphetamine and heroin.

Police say he was also violating a restraining order to stay away from the home, and it appeared his mom and sister were hiding him there.   

"They were standing right out front telling the Chief of Police that he was not in the house," described Wilson, "and then the cops brought him out in cuffs, they found him in a closet."

"Behind some clothing and suitcases," chimed in Melissa Meyer, "and with all his paraphernalia."
The neighbors who banded together hope it is a turning point.
"We're so relieved, I mean it's not gone yet, the junkies still came last night, and some will probably be trying to break in," predicted Chris Meyer.
"But it's going to get better and we're grateful the city and the Police Department have been working hard to help us."
Under the court declaration, the home must be completely vacated in two weeks, and remain empty for at least one year.
"I haven't seen any drug activity," responded a young woman who answered the door Tuesday afternoon.
As for the parade of visitors?

"There's no visitors anymore. And they were just friends," insisted Rebecca Youngberg, who described herself as a caretaker to Richardson's elderly mother, who owns the home.

Youngberg claims neighbors are stereotyping Richardson and his associates.

"He is not a drug dealer, he was a football player and now he's unemployed," she explained, "and he was hiding because he wasn't supposed to be here, but his mail comes here."

But after 776 calls for service, police say there's no doubt the house is a hub of illicit activity.

"We've gone out there, admonished them, given warnings, used enforcement," recited Lt. Brian Miller, " and we've used criminal violations, health and safety codes, and civil law, and now we're to this point with a judge."

"We've tried everything in our power to rehab that house to a standard everyone in the community can enjoy."
A court-appointed receiver will monitor and maintain the home, and in a year, the judge will decide whether to return it to family control.

Over the next few weeks, and months, neighbors will be vigilant.

"I don't know if they think we're blind, but we're not, and we're watching, all of us are watching," concluded Wilson.