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DeKalb neighbors upset over "dangerous, eyesore" house

6:29 AM, Sep 24, 2013   |    comments
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STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- One DeKalb County community wants to know why an eyesore in their neighborhood isn't getting fixed.

Neighbors in the Lakeview at Mainstreet subdivision say an abandoned house at the entrance of their neighborhood has been a blight for more than a year.

"It's not even a house anymore," said neighbor Christina Johnson. "There are no windows. No doors. Just look at it!"

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander the county has issued at least 12 citations and set a court date for the owner, but Brennan says the owner failed to show up.

When 11Alive came to the house on house on Mainstreet Valley Drive, we found at least six of those notices still posted outside the house. But neighbors feel those efforts are clearly not working.

"My son has to walk past that," Johnson said. "I mean, it has to be asbestos and all kinds of mildew and...I mean just look at it!"

Brennan said the county is doing everything the law allows to fix the problem. But DeKalb County cannot take over a house unless it can prove a longstanding pattern of neglect, a process that can sometimes take up to five years.

"Ownership in property is sacrosanct," Brennan said. "So it's a very slow, deliberative process, because if the government can take this house, it can take another house with the same amount of ease."

The laws are designed for protection, Brennan says. Neighbors disagree.

"It's really a hazard to the whole community," said resident Janice Shoemake. "Everything, the value of the homes, everything. It's just not a good thing."

"It's extremely frustrating," Brennan said. "Nobody wants this. The neighborhood doesn't want it, the government doesn't want it."

The owner's next court date is set for December. Brennan said if they fail to appear again, they could incur more fines and harsher penalties.

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