City demolition orders pending following WSAV reports

City to demolish shack built by homeless man

(SAVANNAH)  The Hostess City is preparing to take action after WSAV started asking questions about a trio of situations in the city. Savannah’s Property Maintenance Department launched investigations into those situations, brought to their attention by reports aired on WSAV over the last several weeks. The first involves a shack built inside a homeless camp on President Street near the intersection of General McIntosh Boulevard. The structure is complete with a homemade chimney, real windows, a porch, gutters, and it even has an indoor toilet. There’s a pipe from the bathroom that leads to the open ground outside. Property Maintenance Director Kimberly Corbin says code enforcement inspectors have determined that the structure is illegal and is illegally situated on city property. Corbin says a demolition of the structure has been ordered, but not date is set at this time.

The same order was recommended for a house where neighbors say no recovery work has occurred since Hurricane Matthew hit in October. One home in the 2400 block of Bayberry Boulevard at the intersection with Skidaway Road still has a pair of huge pine trees on it. Inspectors visited the site after News 3 reports featuring neighbors upset at the lack of effort to repair the damage or even to secure the property. The house is owned by Wells Fargo Bank, but local maintenance falls on Coldwell Banker/Garvin Realtors. Karen Olson, the listed agent, says there is no date set at this time for tree removal. Corbin says the property owner is in the midst of a 30 appeal period for the demolition order. Cindy Kaufman says she’s lived two doors away from the house since 1995 and every day she passes the property is a saddening reminder of the devastation of the hurricane. “Looking at this always brings you back to that day…it just is, makes it fresh. It doesn’t, it doesn’t allow the healing to begin.” Kaufman said. Corbin says demolition is expected sometime by mid-April.

The city does not have the power to help a Southside woman with storm damage. Jacquelyn Tanner’s home is threatened by a tree that fell onto her fence and is being held up in part by resting on a utility line. Tanner says that tree came down during the hurricane, but the property owner where the tree is located has not removed it. That property owner is Crossroads Apartments. Corbin says because the tree is on private property, Tanner will have to take legal action against the apartment complex to recoup any costs she incurs to have the tree removed. The tree is resting on a utility line owned by AT&T. Tanner says she is now working with the insurance company to see what her out of pocket costs will be and how long it might take her to get the money back from the apartment complex.

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