Trash bags and other garbage have been piling up at the Oakridge Condominiums apartment complex off North Avenue (125 Berlin Street) for months despite complaints from those living there. Most landlords pay for trash to be hauled away from their properties on a regular basis, but residents of Oakridge say they have to call code enforcement to get anything done about the trash on site.
Calvin Robert-Richard Bryant, an Oakridge resident, says his five-year old daughter looks forward to the day when the trash will finally be removed from the premises. “My kid is excited to see the garbage truck,” Bryant says. “That’s what I’m mad about the most. It should be a normal thing to her.”
But for months, every truck has passed them by as piles of trash are left to sit in the open air. This has caused a foul smell and constant swarms of flies in the area.
Bryant has called code enforcement twice in the past four months, once about the piles of garbage and once about other issues such as leaky pipes and an infestation of pests. He says the property manager ignores his calls and only takes action to keep the complex livable when forced.
Overall, code enforcement has been called to this apartment complex six times in the past four months.
The Athens-Clarke County Police have also recently become involved in this situation. On October 10, ACCPD reported the overflowing dumpster to code enforcement themselves. This complaint caused Oakridge’s property manager to bring in another trash bin, which is now full of the trash which was piled haphazardly around the dumpsters a few days ago.
The additional bin has allowed Oakridge’s owner to get away with a warning for now. This is because code enforcement is required to give property owners a warning before levying any fines every time they are called to handle a complaint. This is true even if there have been previous complaints or evidence of extreme neglect, according to Danielle Laney, Code Enforcement Records Clerk.
Effectively, this means that Oakridge Condominiums can delay providing the sanitation that residents expect indefinitely. Until the ordinance is changed, they will never be fined as long as they respond quickly to each warning.
That’s led Oakridge residents like Bryant to become disillusioned with their government. “Code enforcement ain’t gonna do nothing,” he said. “But we gotta call somebody. Children shouldn’t have to see that. This is criminal.”
It may be piled in the new bin, but despite the recent warning given by ACCPD, the trash remains on site (as of 10/20/20) with more piling up daily.
UPDATE (10/24/20): The trash has finally been hauled away.