Abandoned trailers lead to commissioners discussing putting more teeth in city code

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – They first showed up last summer, three old trailers, at the top of Morning Drive near Peach Orchard Road.

“They just arrived one day and they just kind of sat there ever since, we didn’t know why they were there,” said Michael Palmer who lives nearby.

And as the trailers sat there and sat there, commissioners heard the complaints

“So I put it on the agenda, our department is being very reactionary, they should have handled it last year,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

Those in the neighborhood agree, how do three old trailers show up on a residential street without the city taking action?

“Does this actually meet up with the city code of ordinances for this neighborhood? Because generally you can’t just move certain types of structures into residential zoned areas like this,” said Palmer

Commissioners hearing from Planning and Zoning that steps are being taken, letters have been sent but the property owner lives out of town.

Now some commissioners are saying they want more teeth in city code, by increasing fines for violators.

For example, right now if the city cuts an overgrown lot, it’s $200 an hour, and a $100 administrative fee.

“So many landowners don’t live here and it’s cheaper for them to get the city to bill them at the rate we’re charging them for fines, as opposed to up keeping it themselves. If we quadruple them, they’ll upkeep the properties in my mind,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Frantom says next month he’ll propose a review of city code with the goal of increasing penalties for violators.

“At the end of the day we’re not as strict as we should be on these landowners and what they’re doing on their properties,” said Frantom.

That could help get these trailers get moved on Morning Drive, a day they want to see in this neighborhood.

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