City Official: Overgrown Property "A Disaster"

You know the saying: a man's home is his castle. But what if that home is rundown and rat infested? Residents in a Savannah neighborhood say one house is completely out of control. You really would not expect to drive down the street and see anything like this. The house, on Savannah's East 42nd Street, is pretty much hidden by trees.

"It's just horrible, it's rat infested, and the grass is terrible and the bushes are all over and you can hardly get in the front door," said resident Charlesetta Riley.

The trees are the only thing occupying the porch and the roof looks like it's camouflaged. Riley, who lives next door, doesn't even want to imagine what else is in there

"I would be surprised on what is in there, because I really wouldn't go in there, you couldn't pay me to go in there," she said.

So WTOC brought it to the attention of city council. "I think it's a disgrace, a disaster, and shows total irresponsibility on the part of the owner," said council member Mary Osborne.

Osborne brought over the property maintenance director for the City of Savannah, Trent Chavis. "Unfortunately, we didn't prevent this from happening," he said.

He says the house has been a problem for years, but the owner would usually comply. "Each time, he has over the past three or four years, stepped in and cut the grass."

But now, it's out of control, and the city considers it an emergency. So the owner may be facing an administrative hearing and a hefty bill. "If he fails to meet the deadline, we will step in and have it cut and send the property owner the bill," said Chavis.

If the owner does go to an administrative hearing, which looks more than likely, he will have to correct and maintain the problem or he could face a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com