DeKalb’s war on blight: Nearly 300 properties demolished

DeKalb County demolished 31 properties in 2018, including 521 Warren Avenue, Scottdale, GA. The Demolitions and Abatements Task Force was established to create a coordinated and expedited approach to wipe out blight in DeKalb.

 

Since January 2017, DeKalb County’s blight remediation program has demolished or abated 292 vacant, abandoned or poorly maintained properties. The county’s efforts to eradicate blight has increased seven-fold

from the previous year, 2016.

In 2019, the county plans to conduct a first-ever comprehensive study of blighted properties in DeKalb. Approximately 139,000 parcels will be reviewed.

“Fighting blight and beautifying DeKalb County improves quality of life and the health of our citizens,” said CEO Michael Thurmond. “The county has significantly increased our efforts to revitalize DeKalb by dedicating funding for blight programs and enhancing our partnership with the judicial system.”

 

DeKalb Blight Remediation Program Gets Results, page 2 

 

DeKalb County Demolition and Abatement Properties

  2016 2017 2018 (YTD)
Demolitions 36 105 31
Abatements 7 48 108
Total 43 153 139

 

At the beginning of 2017, Thurmond allocated $3.8 million in funds approved by the Board of Commissioners to enhance blight-fighting initiatives and address derelict properties in DeKalb. Additional improvements include:

 

  • Stronger Judicial Partnership

The DeKalb Magistrate Court and the Solicitor-General’s office created blight programs. Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl Anderson formed a three-judge Magistrate Court Ordinance Division to review cases involving properties that have failed to improve despite repeated citations. Judge Anderson also implemented a monthly schedule to target dilapidated properties that receive numerous code citations, granting the county court order to take action on properties not returned to code. Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling formed the Quality of Life Unit, which is responsible for the prosecution of all cases involving code violations, blight, nuisance and other issues plaguing communities.

 

  • New Beautification Division Leadership

Timothy Hardy was appointed as the deputy director of beautification over code compliance in August 2018.

 

  • Increased Code Enforcement Staffing

The county hired 11 new officers to enforce codes and ordinances related to property maintenance, zoning, planning, special land use, signs and permits in August 2018.

 

  • Operation Clean Sweep started in March 2017

Operation Clean Sweep has removed 5,647 bags of loose litter, 4,366 tons of debris and serviced 205 illegal dump sites.

 

  • Demolition and Abatement Task Force

The task force was created in January 2017 to share information, coordinate enforcement efforts and collaborate on initiatives to reduce blighted properties. Representatives of law, planning and sustainability, community development, Keep DeKalb Beautiful, code enforcement, sanitation and the GIS department meet regularly.

4 comments

  • Janet

    December 22, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    I guess that is why this will be the 2nd Christmas in a row that the house next door that no one has lived in or cared about for 30 years is still there. They now use it to keep a dumpster at, so that the houses they actually work on, they have a place to bring the trash from other properties to. If only I could paste a picture into here. The house has no walls or floor, and everything in the dumpster is from lived in houses. So the property is now a dump site for other properties. They lied to the County and said the sold the house. I know real estate and know how to check. Funny thing, the tax records are still in the last guy’s name. So, I kind of guess, it’s who you know, or who you lie to. Merry Christmas again!

    Reply

    • Tricia

      December 29, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Janet, I hear you, this has been going on way too long and the county officials will “cook the books” as they see fit. Even the article heading is misleading, 300 is actually 31 for the ENTIRE year, how discouraging it that!!!

      Reply

  • Janet

    December 22, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    It is curious to find out if they censor here, or will actually post my comment.

    Reply

  • Pat Lee

    December 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I am very proud to be a citizen of Dekalb County. I have great appreciation for the innovative approaches such as the projects under the clean up Dekalb umbrella that are aimed to improve the quality of life for the citizens and attract investment. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

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