Savannah Making Blighted Businesses Pay

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, May 19th, 2017

The City of Savannah won judgements on five local business that were not cleaning up trash on their property. On Monday, May 15, 2017 Recorders Court ruled in favor of the City of Savannah and ordered four Family Dollar stores and a Dollar General store to pay fines and clean up the mess. All the stores are owned by Family Dollar Stores, Inc.

The stores include:

Family Dollar, 1920 E. Gwinnett Street

Family Dollar, 3107 Montgomery Street

Family Dollar, 610 MLK. Jr. Blvd

Family Dollar, 702 W. Oglethrope Ave.

Dollar General, 2110 Bay Street

By Monday’s court date, four of the five locations were in compliance. However, on Thursday, May 18 (just four days later) three had fallen back out of compliance and were cited again.

The City’s Property Maintenance Department (PMD) has been pressuring these businesses for months to clean up the property around their store. Property Maintenance Director Kimberly Corbin said the easiest solution would be for the stores to put lids on their dumpsters and lock them to prevent illegal dumping. The City has also recommended the stores hire a groundskeeper to pick up the trash.

The judge’s Cease and Desist Order for the five businesses includes: daily clean up, lids for all the containers, a $1,000 fine ($500.00 suspend because it was the first appearance/citation).

City Manager Rob Hernandez wrote a letter to the Chief Operating Officer of Family Dollar Stores, Inc. on April 20. “The City of Savannah has been experiencing widespread litter, debris and poor property maintenance conditions at the Family Dollars stores located throughout our community,” Hernandez wrote. “These issues are documented at different locations, over a number of years, without improvement. It is clear to me that maintenance issues at Family Dollar stores are systemic in nature and a corporate solution is required. These conditions, to us, are unacceptable…We have a mutual interest in creating a clean and well-maintained business environment at every Family Dollar store.”

PMD employees are also proactively addressing other problem businesses in Savannah.

“If they do not comply will we take them to court too,” said Corbin. “We owe it to our residents to have a clean Savannah.”

The City Attorney’s Office plans to ask the court to increase the fines for the stores who fall out of compliance to $1,000 per day, per store.

If citizens would like to report a blighted business, you can reach the City’s Property Maintenance Department by calling 311.