Abandoned Property Lowers Neighbors' Home Values

The abandoned property on Westlake Avenue.
The abandoned property on Westlake Avenue.

Some Chatham County homeowners are crying foul over other people's property. Houses that are boarded up, run down, and abandoned. One old eyesore is hurting a neighborhood's home values, but help could be on the way.

Ernest and Willie Mae Major have lived on Westlake Avenue in Savannah for 25 years, in their current house for 18 of them.

"We built this house," said Earnest. "This neighborhood is a good neighborhood."

But every morning, when Ernest opens up his garage door, he sees the poster child for a bad neighbor. "I think it's ridiculous for somebody to move something like this to our community and won't clean it up," he said.

If living across from a run-down property isn't bad enough, Ernest and his neighbors have received notice from the county that their property values have gone down anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.

"That's the main problem," Ernest said. "Across the street, I blame it on that."

Beside being an eyesore, Ernest says it's a safety and health hazard. He's called the health department he says people have been going in and out through an open door, living in one abandoned building.

"It's not safe. It doesn't look good for the neighborhood. And it's ridiculous. Something needs to be done. I'm asking the county to come out and do something with it."

So Ernest took measures into his own hands. He went straight to the Chatham County Commission. They told him something will be done. He says all he's gotten from them is a higher tax bill.

"I think it's bad for taxes to go up and see no results," he told us.

And it's his tax money which will eventually pay for the run-down buildings to be torn down.

Tonight, county manager Russ Abolt tells WTOC action has been taken on the abandoned property. The owner, who lives outside of Chatham County, has been notified. If he doesn't fix the property up by July 22, the county will tear it down.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com