County suing Brannon Hill condos over blight
Cross Roads News
29 January 2016
DeKalb County (Georgia) is suing the owners of Brannon Hill
Condominiums in Clarkston to make changes at the trash-ridden complex
that is home to about 100 people.
The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the filing of a lawsuit
at its Jan. 26 meeting. It is asking DeKalb Superior Court to declare
the complex “a public nuisance.”
The lawsuit seeks to clear the way for the county to use its resources
to remove mountains of debris, eradicate rodents, and cut overgrowth
from the complex common areas.
Many of the owners have abandoned their units
Brannon Hill Condominiums, which has more than 100 separate property
owners, was built in 1973. About 162 of its 369 units – average size of
1,440 square feet – have been damaged by fire, and more than 70 others
are unoccupied. Many of the owners have abandoned their units and
cannot be found, leaving the condominium association without the funds
to clean up the complex and make repairs.
It is now a crime-ridden community well-known by police and county officials.
Open-air drug dealing, gang warfare, arson, squatting, and killings are
commonplace at the complex at 6524 Brannon Hill Road near Memorial
Drive in unincorporated Clarkston.
Code violations range from peeling sidings, rotten wood, broken
windows, decrepit balconies, structural instability, exposed outlets
and wires, holes in the roofs and walls, missing doors, bullet holes,
unsecured units, unlicensed vehicles, and burned-down buildings.
Because it is privately owned, county officials cannot go into units
As problems mounted in the early 2000s, owners and renters who could
moved away and the complex has been left mostly with immigrants,
primarily from the East African country of Somalia, who live there
because the units were affordable and close to the nearby city of
Clarkston’s refugee community.
The county said that it was unable to rectify the situation without
suing because the condominiums are privately owned and code violations
exist on private property.
District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, who convened a working
group to address the problem in December 2014, applauded the move.
“This lawsuit gives us the legal authority we need to get to work,” she said after the vote.
Barnes Sutton said that reaching a consensus on the issue required
vision and the cooperative commitment of many individuals working
toward a common purpose.
District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson, who also represents the area, said
that once the courts give the green light, the county can make some
significant improvements to the health and well-being of this community
“If we are successful in our endeavors here, the same strategy can be
applied to other areas of the county where we have community blight
issues,” Watson said.
While cleanup of the debris is important, District 6 Commissioner
Kathie Gannon said the county also needs to address the standing
remnants of burned and dilapidated buildings that are uninhabitable.
“As we move forward, we need to address the buildings and the
relocation of residents who want to find other housing alternatives,”
declare the condominium’s common areas a public nuisance
The lawsuit is asking Superior Court to declare the condominium’s
common areas a public nuisance and to give the county the authority to
abate conditions by removing trash like rubbish, commercial debris,
laundry waste, garbage in standing water, tire piles and other waste
conducive to attracting mosquitoes, rats and flies.
The county also wants to cut and clear overgrowth and take steps to
control the spread of rats, feral cats, insects and other harmful
animals. The suit also is seeking reimbursement from the condo
Run-down DeKalb condos will be destroyed
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
21 November 2016
A judge has authorized the demolition of four burned-down buildings at
Brannon Hill condos, which has earned a reputation for intractable
blight and poverty in DeKalb County.
The dilapidated buildings can be destroyed, eliminating public health
dangers to the community, according to DeKalb Superior Court Judge
Gregory Adams’ order Nov. 15. The broken-down structures are a haven
for squatters, gangs and drug abusers.
DeKalb’s government sued this year for permission to intervene at
Brannon Hill, where more than 100 people live in the community near
Memorial Drive and the city of Clarkston.
“This is the first time anybody has had any success with tacking the
problem of Brannon Hill,” said DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes
Sutton. “It’s just the right thing to do to clean up that blight over
there so that those residents will have a suitable place to live.”
The judge’s order gives the condo’s property owners 60 days to demolish
and clean up the properties before the county can move in.
Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May called the action “a big step in the right direction.”
“This order puts Brannon Hill’s owners on notice to improve the
property, or DeKalb County has the authority to step in,” May said in a
statement. “We have been working diligently for years to clean up
Brannon Hill and other blighted communities.”
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