MACON, Ga. — As Macon-Bibb County continues its fight against blight, the code enforcement department is cracking down on what they call "hoarder properties."
Those are properties that have 20 cubic yards or more of trash outside the house. One viewer wanted to know if code enforcement can enter a private property to clear out trash. He says the house at 1013 Dennis Street burned down a few months ago, and the trash has piled up.
Our sources are Bibb Code Enforcement Director JT Ricketson and the Macon-Bibb County Code of Ordinances.
"People will collect and just have piles and piles of trash and rubbish," Ricketson said.
First, someone needs to call code enforcement and request an inspection. They can walk onto private property then with some limitations.
"We can go up to the door or to the side of the house. We can't go through fences or anything like that," Ricketson said.
What they do next depends. Ricketson says it's a twofold process. If someone else dumps trash illegally on your property, they'll contact public works and solid waste with Macon-Bibb County. If the trash is yours, you could wind up in court.
"Then we can place a lien against that property for the homeowner to pay us back for the expenses that we incurred collecting it," he said.
There's a catch. It takes a lot of trash buildup to violate the ordinance. It's about 20 cubic yards, according to the county code.
"Take the size of a washer or dryer, and multiply that by 20," Ricketson said.
So, we can Verify that yes, Bibb Code Enforcement can come onto private property to clear out trash. They may just have to take a few extra steps.
We also reached out to the property owner at 1013 Dennis Street to ask what happened. Wallace Adside told us the trash came from cleaning up after the fire.
"We started throwing a lot of stuff out because we were gonna fix it back. But we weren't able to fix it back because it costs so much money to fix it back," he said.
Adside says the house is on the market, and they have a potential buyer. He says the buyer has plans to clean up the property.