Savannah cracks down on dollar store blight

Judge orders business to pay $500 fines for conditions; steeper fines may be coming

City officials say they are hoping fines and a judge’s order this week will motivate the owners of some chain discount stores to put more effort into cleaning their properties after having to contend with litter, debris and poor maintenance conditions at the businesses for years.

 

On Monday, Chatham County Recorder’s Court Chief Judge Tammy Stokes ordered four Family Dollar stores and one Dollar General business to pay $500 fines after the businesses were cited in March for failing to maintain their properties. Stokes also ordered the businesses to regularly clean their properties and put lids on dumpsters and trash containers. Property maintenance officials have also recommended that the stores hire a groundskeeper to pick up the trash.


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The city wants the businesses to know they are serious about fighting blight, said Property Maintenance Director Kimberly Corbin.

“Until you hit it in the pocketbook or the wallet, that’s when it gets their attention,” Corbin said.

The businesses may need to be fined a few dollars more, however.

Since the fines were issued on Monday, three of the businesses fell out of compliance. That means when the cases return to court at the next scheduled hearing in June, the city attorney will seek daily fines of $1,000, the highest the city can levy against the business, Corbin said.

Savannah Alderman John Hall said additional fines are in order after hearing continuous complaints from residents about the trashed parking lots at the Family Dollar on East Gwinnett Street in his district that the businesses failed to address.

“They act like they don’t care,” Hall said.

City Manager Rob Hernandez described the issue as a systemic one in a letter he sent in April to Family Dollar’s chief operating officer. While the businesses are valuable for providing affordable goods to the community, they have become a liability because of the maintenance issues commonly associated with the properties, Hernandez said.

“Repeated citations at several locations have occurred for years, and I can only conclude that Family Dollar has decided this is an acceptable business practice,” Hernandez said. “These conditions to us, are unacceptable.”

Attempts to reach the corporate offices of Family Dollar and the Atlanta-based attorney who represented those businesses were unsuccessful Thursday.

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

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

FINED STORES:

Family Dollar: 1920 E. Gwinnett Street

Family Dollar: 3107 Montgomery Street

Family Dollar: 610 MLK Blvd

Family Dollar: 702 W. Oglethrope Street

Dollar General: 2110 Bay St.

UpUpnHeaHea 3 months ago
What about the ordinance  that says Parking Enforcement's jurisdiction ends at south of  E37th Street ?
Brandon Moody 3 months ago
Well the litter doesn't blow out the store, it comes from the citizens. So many just throw garbage out their car.
Marty Harmon 3 months ago
Having a business with a bright and welcoming area typically only increases  businesses activity and the customer base. This would seem like low hanging fruit and a good investment, instead of a cost burden. They are usually on small lots, 1000 dollar fine would likely match the cost of contracting this out to landscape company.
Tina Mccall 3 months ago
Not when a 1000 a day
Tina Mccall 3 months ago
Why am i not surprised that these stores happen to be the historic area.  IJS
I guess thats the only area that matters.  They already getting extra police coverage,raised parking prices and now going force buisness out of buisness so we would have to shop downtown and get charge and extra quarter for our ten dollar purchase.
Clearwaterguy 3 months ago
Boycott all these places that do not sell goods that are made in America!
Buy American all the time! support the USA not China!
DONNIE RUSHING 3 months ago
change to $2.00 store and pay somone to pick up customers trash 
alton randall 3 months ago
This is interesting because the Dollar General in Georgetown has the same issues, but it's not on the list
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