City looks to cut crime near Heritage House - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City looks to cut crime near Heritage House

After Neighbors reported drug and prostitution crimes on the site, Commissioners voted to have their attorney and code enforcement officers find ways to better secure the property.

'No Trespassing and Do Not Enter' signs do little to stop trespassers when you can see the gap in the padlocked gate is large enough to easily get through at the old Heritage House.

Commissioners say they continue to get calls about crime. "It's a haven for crime, it is a public safety issue as well as a health issue," said Albany City Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard.

Police have been called for drugs and prostitution on the property. Today commissioners decided to take action, voting to authorize the City Attorney to do something to better secure the vacant structure.

"Let's not just wait for the permanent solution to take effect, let's go ahead and put in whatever interim measures we can if we can," said Albany City Commissioner Bob Langstaff Jr.

That includes turning to the city's boarding ordinance, which could use the courts to force a private property owner to secure the property.

"The boarding ordinance is very particular it even describes, I think it requires 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch plywood and it had little diagrams of how you bolt the plywood over the windows and doors, it's very specific type of ordinance," said City Attorney Nathan Davis.

They'll also ask if it's an issue for public health. "They do operate under a separate set of laws and they may have laws that pertain to the health and safety of the public as it relates to the Heritage House," said Langstaff.

Public health say it would have to be an imminent health risk to the public, something that's sickening the neighborhood for them to get involved. Regardless commissioners say it's not fair to others who's worked to improve their properties around the building.

"This has just gone on too long and its not getting any better," said Hubbard.

They hope to get action as soon as possible. The hotel closed in 1994, and reopened briefly to house flood victims in 1995, but has not operated since then.

 

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