Atlanta City Hall blames real estate investor for delays; investor blames city hall red tape; neighbors say they are caught in the middle.
ATLANTA — Residents of a historic Atlanta neighborhood are caught in the middle of a standoff between city hall and a real estate investor.
The neighbors are stuck next to an eyesore of a vacant old house which they say is also potentially dangerous.
And so far they haven’t been able to do anything about it.
Weeds and grass are knee high. The large construction dumpster in the driveway overflows and smells bad. The house is emptied from the inside.
And it’s been like that for months.
“I mean, it’s boring, it’s definitely boring,” Karon Lewis said.
Lewis and other residents along Jones Road in northwest Atlanta’s historic Collier Heights neighborhood who take pride in their homes and yards say they’ve done everything they can to someone do something to clean up this horror – which is now home to rodents and insects.
Online real estate sites show the house sold in April, as is, after a family had owned it for almost 20 years.
On May 9, according to Fulton County records, Expert Real Estate of Atlanta took possession. Then the company began major renovations, allegedly to turn it over.
But the town hall claims that Expert Real Estate never obtained the necessary permits to carry out the work.
“So now they have a stop work order and we have to sit and watch this every day,” Lewis said.
The stop work order prevents the investor from completing the renovation, even though the investor says, through a spokesperson, that he has in fact applied for all permits from the city, and that it was the administrative formalities of the town hall that prevented him from obtaining the permit.
“Well, it seems like something completely unnecessary and totally avoidable,” said Lenny Berman, who lives next door.
He added: “It is a horror, but it is also dangerous because it breeds mosquitoes, rodents and snakes. It could be beautiful…. Maybe they need to stop pointing fingers and talk to each other and find a middle ground, because if he (the owner) intends to, then let him. Just work with the city. City… works with him. And make sure it’s taken care of.
As it stands, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, in the first three months of this year, 30% of all homes on the market in the Collier Heights zip code were purchased by investors, and that percentage increases in this region and in the metro. Atlanta.
After calls from 11Alive on Tuesday to the real estate investor, the mayor’s office, and the office of the member of city council who represents Collier Heights, the investor said he had received permission from the city to enter the property and remove the dumpster and mow the lawn, which he will do this week.
A hearing at City Hall that could begin to break the deadlock and restart renovations is scheduled for Oct. 12. This hearing will focus on charges that the owner, who painted the exterior natural red brick before the stop work order was issued, violated the neighborhood’s designation as a National Historic District by failing to obtain first permission to change the exterior this way.
Berman and his neighbors – frustrated and eager for a settlement that will eventually make the house ready for sale to new neighbors.
“It’s not fair to us” that they haven’t worked out their stop work order issues, Berman said, “because we’ve made it our home.”