Two Thomaston property owners addressed city council members during the public comments segment of last week’s meeting, lodging complaints about what they deemed blight and unequal application of code enforcement.
Chris Daniel, who owns multiple houses for rent and for sale on both sides of the Highway 19 North corridor, said the perception of potential renters and buyers is that the east side of the roadway is neglected.
“When I get a call, they ask, ‘Is it on the good side or the bad side?’” Daniel told council members. “When I ask which is the bad side, they say, ‘Where they tore the old mill down.’”
Daniel stated that the west side, which includes Greatest Generation Memorial Park, is “beautiful” and the east side “has debris, rodents, and high grass.” He voiced his opinion that codes are not enforced equally on both sides of the highway.
“It looks like bombs have been dropped [where previous mill buildings have been demolished],” he said. “Why has nothing been done? When will something be done? It’s been like this for at least four or five years.”
Daniel compared Thomaston to Griffin, where “they tear down, clean up, and place a lien on property” when owners fail to comply with codes or fail to respond to enforcement. Upson County recently initiated a similar system to address blighted property.
“The neighborhood is at a turning point,” Daniel said. “If you want to be a legendary council and do something that will impact the city for generations, buy the property, clean it up, and put the justice center there.”
Certain tracts on the east side of Highway 19 are tied up in legal red tape, according to city officials. The county currently is considering three other parcels for a proposed new court facility.
Another resident, Fred Piper, who said he moved from Sun City Peachtree to buy a house in Sawmill Village, told council members his neighbor’s garbage can has remained in the street since December.
“It gets blown over in storms and animals strew the garbage everywhere,” Piper said. “They have been visited by code enforcement, and nothing has been done.”
He added that toys, mattresses, and a stove were piled by the road in one spot.
“I moved here to get away from craziness, traffic, and crime,” Piper stated. “But I don’t want to pay a $2,000 property tax bill and have my neighbor’s trash in my yard.”
During public comments, speakers are allotted five minutes to address council. The meeting format does not allow for questions and answers or responses from council members.