City of Savannah busting businesses out of compliance - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City of Savannah busting businesses out of compliance

(Source: City of Savannah) (Source: City of Savannah)

The City of Savannah is sending a message to businesses that if they don't clean up, they'll be taken to court. 

Several warnings to multiple Dollar General and Family Dollar stores went unheeded, and now, they're paying the price. Just this week, the Recorder's Court ruled in favor of the city and granted cease and desist orders, also imposing a $1,000 fine for five businesses. 

At the time of the court date, four out of the five were in compliance. But Thursday, only four days later, three out of the five had fallen back into their old ways and out of compliance with the city and courts' requirements when it comes to keeping their properties clean. Director of Property Maintenance, Kimberly Corbin, says it's frustrating, but she hopes the fines and court orders will eventually send the message that the city and its citizens deserve better. 

"We don't think that the citizens of Savannah should have to see this every day. This isn't what we want to be the face of Savannah when they drive through the street, that they see these stores, and there's a lot of them. They don't want to see that," said Corbin said. 

The Family Dollar on Montgomery Street is one of the stores in compliance since Monday's court ruling. 

City council members brought this issue up months ago. Back in March, the city's property maintenance division started documenting trash gathering around stores where they received the most complaints.

The city has given leaders within both companies time to comply, but when no progress was being made, the issue moved to court.

"Sometimes until you hit it in the pocketbook, in the wallet, that's when it gets their attention, and to mean that we are seriously pursuing this. And we're going to keep pursuing it even up to daily fines. And that's what we will request at the next court date,” Corbin said.

That follow-up Recorder's Court date is next month. Those daily fines, if the request is granted by the court, would be a $1,000 a day for businesses that repeatedly break the rules.

The city's action, and the results, are encouraging for those living around the stores.

"We are going to see a cleaner Savannah if they realize that the city is after them, to clean up around their stores. It doesn't take but 30 minutes to go in and pick up every night,” Jenniee Brannen said, she lives near the Family Dollar on E. Gwinnett Street.

Brannen is optimistic that this will set an example and lead to a trend city-wide.

"I hope, I hope. We keep praying that the other ones are listening. I'm not sure everybody knows now, but it's $1000,” Brannen said.

A media contact for Dollar General provided the following statement on behalf of the company.

Dollar General strives to provide a pleasant shopping experience for our customers, which includes a clean environment both inside and outside our stores.  We are committed to complying with city ordinances and are planning to build a fence around our property to deter any future third-party dumping.

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