Augusta cracks down on blight with new ordinance

The city of Augusta considers this shotgun-style house a blighted property.
The city of Augusta considers this shotgun-style house a blighted property.(WRDW)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta commissioners voted to launch an ordinance allowing the city to clean up blighted properties when owners neglect to do so.

The measure was passed during Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting.

The goals of the ordinance are to:

  • Reduce and eradicate blight.
  • Improve the quality of life within existing neighborhoods.
  • Improve the safety, health, and welfare of those living, working and visiting Augusta.

What is blight?

  • The term “blight” includes property issues ranging from deterioration of buildings to lack of upkeep of land.
  • Blighted or distressed areas create public safety hazards and are often crime-prone areas, according to city officials.

How will the ordinance work?

  • Property owners with infractions will receive a notice detailing violations and will have 60 days to rectify the issues.
  • If violations continue, the property will be considered blighted and the owner will have to appear in court to explain why the problems have not been corrected.
  • Additionally, the owner will be faced with an ad valorem tax if the court affirms the blight designation.
  • Property owners who bring their property up to code can seek an appeal, undergo reinspection and possibly receive a reduction in their ad valorem tax.

What do city leaders say about the plan?

  • “We are aggressively working to increase the pride in our community, and this ordinance continues positioning our city to be a place for people to live, learn, establish their business and raise their families.” — Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr.
  • “Blight affects all of our communities and the residents have been waiting for us to act on this problem for decades,” said “I encourage those with blighted properties to begin taking steps to correct their areas so the city isn’t forced to intervene.” — Commissioner Jordan Johnson
  • “Passing this ordinance is an important step in our commitment in making sure residents have access to clean, safe and thriving communities,” Williams said. “With this new mandate, we’re going to identify blighted areas and begin restoring pride in our neighborhoods.” — Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams

Where can you learn more?

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