Dear Editor: I cannot for the life of me understand why the taxpayers allow the city of Covington to selectively enforce the codes. On one occasion, I asked why a complete remodel of a structure two blocks from the code offices did not have a building permit. It was under construction for the better part of a year and every official who works for the city had to have passed it every day.
Mr. Banks, a city code enforcement official, told me, in front of several other people, “Oh, that is one of our leading citizens in town and I’m sure he doesn’t mean to break any laws.”
I told him it would be wise to put a stop work order on the building right away to save the city some embarrassment. It was shut down the next day, after almost a year. Then I learned a set of prints for the project was delivered to the code office the next day or so for ‘approval.’
The subject of this letter is to point out how the ‘rich and powerful’ seem to have some kind of “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
Let us take one example just to focus upon. Have you seen the mess on Highway 142 as you come into Covington from I-20? How long has it been like that? Is it an eyesore? It is the old derelict apartment buildings located there.
Now, you have to understand the code enforcement officers are on their toes, like an old hound dog, when it comes to ordinary citizens who have questionable stuff about. But over on Highway 142, nothing seems to be happening. As we hear about our Special Projects Coordinator Delk and Planning and Zoning Director Randy Vincent spending all this taxpayer money to make Covington more eye appealing, residences out of sight and owned by simple folk, get pounded upon like the rocks at the bottom of Niagara Falls.
If I understand the codes correctly, the code enforcement officers notify a person of alleged violations. The owner may have an opportunity to clean it up to satisfy the codes. In the event this does not happen within a specified number of days, a citation is written and the violator is invited into court. If this condition is not rectified within some specified number of days, the area is condemned and the city takes on the task of cleaning it up and/or demolishing the structures, and places a tax lien on the property for expenses plus interest and it must be paid by the owner.
In the event no one seems to be able to find the address of the service agent who handles such paperwork for the owners of the property on 142, I am glad to give it to you.
The last known address was: Mr. Brock, 2060 Mount Paran Road, NW, Suite 106, Atlanta GA 30327.
Or has the city or county already bought this property which would place them in a position of responsibility for the mess? As you know, they have bought other properties to ‘fix them up’ and I constantly wonder how wise an investment were those?