Judges will order DeKalb’s ugliest properties to clean up or be torn down


A newly formed group of DeKalb County judges is targeting abandoned, dilapidated and burned-out properties with a threat that they could be demolished if they’re not cleaned up.

DeKalb Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl Anderson announced Wednesday she formed a three-judge Magistrate Court Ordinance Division that will review cases involving properties that have failed to improve despite repeated citations.

The judges have the power to require property owners to make repairs or face demolition by the county government. 

“We have long been plagued in DeKalb County with problems created by these troublesome properties,” Anderson said in a statement. “In the past, there was not much that could be done unless the properties’ owners could be found. This initiative allows the county to move forward with taking down these properties regardless of whether the owners respond to court orders.”

The cost of tear-downs would be borne by DeKalb taxpayers, and then the county government could attempt to recover the costs of demolition from property owners.

Anderson said the judges will follow a checklist to ensure property rights are protected.

Cases will be heard by Supervising Ordinance Judge Hollie Manheimer, Judge September Guy and Judge Matthew McCoyd on the third Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at 3630 Camp Circle near Decatur.


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