City of Savannah “sweeps” neighborhood for code violations

In an effort to clean up one Savannah neighborhood, city code enforcement, animal control and even metro police did a “sweep” Wednesday, covering on an area of West 61st Street.  More than a dozen began walking an area on West 61st street between Montgomery and Crane Streets. “Getting compliance is the name of the game, we get a lot of complaints in a particular neighborhood and
we’re going to address it with a team approach,” says Kimberly Corbin, the property maintenance director.

They found tall grass that needed to be cut plus a number of vehicles improperly parked or vehicles that did not have a proper tag. And it wasn’t long before they began writing citations.

“I ticketed them for parking in the yard,” Jerry Cornwall told me.  He’s a code enforcement officer and says he sees it all. “A lot of issues with parking and people need to mow their grass in a lot of neighborhoods,” he said.

They took pictures to document problems and knocked on doors to see if they could find people at home. property to document problems. Corbin told us they decided to sweep this particular neighborhood after Savannah Alderwoman Estella Shabazz complained to the department.  Corbin says they do work with neighborhood associations and in most cases, those neighbors want them around. “They know if there is a derelict property or a derelict vehicle they want it taken Care of because they feel like it’s bringing down their property values,” said Corbin.

However, Corbin also said that in some cases, individual code enforcement officers are not always met with enthusiasm when they make rounds.  That’s why the team was used in this particular neighborhood. “There have been complaints about code enforcement officers getting surrounded by particular neighbors that maybe didn’t want to see us out here,” said Corbin.  “And I don’t think they understand that we are trying to make the neighborhood better, we’re trying to improve the conditions in the neighborhood.”

In addition to vehicles improperly parked and unmowed grass, they found an abandoned home with a broken window and unsecured door. “There’s crime and activity like that that usually goes along with the abandoned houses here in the Savannah area so that’s why it’s critical to get this thing secured because it can be an area for crime but also dangerous to say neighborhood kids,” said Cornwall.

We also talked to Donnita Parker, who’s a code enforcement officer.  She says home owners aren’t always glad to see her but says the city tries to work with individuals as much as possible.  Parker believes getting rid of a junky house for example can change the entire neighborhood.  “I think it’s important to the City because the main goal of the City is to improve the quality of life for all citizens and that starts at home,” she told me.

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