The Augusta Commission seeks to take drastic measures to combat the scourge
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) – Augusta commissioners say many residents have expressed tired of seeing the city’s vacant and abandoned properties overgrown with vegetation and rodents. Many of these properties have been in these conditions for decades. FOX 54 met with city leaders who are working to hold homeowners accountable through a new draft ordinance.
In Augusta, Sherman Street is just one of many burn areas. There are five destroyed properties on this one street: abandoned lots and houses, uncleaned garbage, overgrown lawns and burnt structures.
City administrator Odie Donald II says that through the land reserve the city is working with a developer who will clean up these properties and bring in new structures. “I think when you eradicate the blight and start improving the communities they don’t have problems with rodents and other pests and things of that nature. But also the quality of everything related to your community is improving. “
Typically, it would take the city two years to take ownership of properties like these and then turn them into something a developer or homeowner would want. But thanks to the proposed burn ordinance, the city would be able to reduce that time to sixty days.
“You can’t take action after it gets this bad. We have to act aggressively, ”says Shawn Edwards, executive director of the Augusta Landbank Authority.
City officials said the proposed new ordinance would allow the city to apply an ad valorem tax to property owners who have not complied within sixty days of receiving a notice. we are told that the purpose of the ordinance is not to pressure landowners who have low incomes and reside in the property and cannot afford to make improvements. The ordinance is specifically for dilapidated and burnt structures.
“We expect its sales to be very scarce. I mean the reality is that the scourge in our community is defined by the ascetics, so what the ordinance does is put real rules and parameters in place. So the burn is the vacancy when you have a property that is overused. It’s abandonment when you have a property breaking the code because it’s not in a ball and it’s a dilapidated structure when you have a burnout, ”Edwards says.
Apart from the efforts it will take to tackle violations, the city often faces a challenge that faces every municipality: a situation where four or five people are on the act and no one wants to make the decision or pay the fees. dollars to remedy the situation. property or demolish it.
Deputy Director of Planning and Development Carla Delaney says, “And then it becomes a challenge in the sale. So when developers want to buy a property, they run into a situation where not all of the deed will accept a price, so either you pay an astronomical price to accommodate the owners who are tunes or you let the property sit and often the property sits because the developers do not necessarily jeopardize their bottom line. “
At the last committee meeting, the committee voted to hold a public hearing and bring it back to committee at the committee meeting on June 8.
In Augusta Georgia, I’m Miya Payton FOX 54 News Now.