DeKalb County

Neighbors fed up with ‘landfill’ property; code enforcement says they’ve been out to it 20 times

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — It used to be a beauty salon but now the property the salon once sat on looks like a landfill.

DeKalb County Code Enforcement has been citing the property owner for the last three years, but nothing has changed.

Willy Mitchell runs a title business along Old Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur.

Every time he comes to work, Mitchell told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that he has to look at the mounds of trash and debris on the property next door.

Those mounds of trash include furniture, appliances, shopping carts and food scattered across the property.

“It kills your spirit because you have to look at it over and over and over again,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell believes he’s losing customers once they see the mess.

“Absolutely, because of the trash and the excess of stuff that’s around here. So yes, it deters customers a lot,” Mitchell said.

Fernandes learned that the property used to be a thriving business years ago.

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“It used to be a functional beauty salon years ago,” Jerry Silver with DeKalb Code Compliance said. “We’ve been out here 20 times since 2019.”

Once the business closed, the owner started living in the building, which is illegal. The county has cited the owner several times, but she never shows up to court.

Fernandes saw the property owner in the yard when she first arrived Friday, but when she knocked on her door, she didn’t answer.

She knew she was inside, so Fernandes went around to another door. Once she thought Fernandes left, Fernandes saw her run across the street.

County administrators said they’ve spoken to the property owner a few times and she always says she’s going to clean things up, but then she doesn’t and adds more stuff.

That stuff then attracts rodents and bugs, and creates a terrible stench that takes over this neighborhood.

“That’s why its unsafe and unsanitary for us. It’s actually a junkyard being run on a C1 property,” Mitchell said.

The county said it is going through a process now that will eventually allow them to go onto the property and get rid of all the stuff, and possibly even demolish the building.

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