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Homeowner fuming over litter, ‘decline’ of Southside neighborhood

RICHMOND, Va. -- Doris Forbes has owned her Fawnbrook home for 46 years. She loves her Southside neighborhood but says she’s disheartened to see the community decline.

She pointed out litter and debris along Hull Street and says it is spilling over into her community.

“It’s been within the last five years that you can see how much it's declined,” said Forbes. “You look around and say this is not right. Do we accept this… or do we try to make a change?”

Doris Forbes

CBS 6 spotted trash, bottles, plates, cans, and even a basketball littering a creek near Hull Street.

To Forbes, it’s unacceptable.

So, Forbes and her Fawnbrook Civic Association are pressing city leaders to help. They want code enforcement cracking down on neighbors with multiple inoperable cars on their property, storage units parked on city streets for years, and by addressing other issues like people running businesses out of their homes.

“Get these people to abide by the zoning. If it’s residential, you can not have a business. Abide by the zoning,” said Forbes.

CBS 6 Problem Solvers caught up with Councilmember Mike Jones (9th District).

He says the city has been responsive to the civic association’s concerns.

Jones showed CBS 6 a list of violations that code enforcement officials have addressed since the last meeting with the association.

“Addressed means, code enforcement, zoning, they know about it. They’ve addressed it. And trust me I’ve held their feet to the fire,” said Jones.

Jones says he recently put in a half million dollars in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget specifically to beef up the city’s code enforcement ranks.

“There are two enforcement agents that cover all of Richmond,” said Jones. “I'm not going to lie. Is the process of government slow moving at times? It is. We have to get the person, hire them, train them and send them out to the field. So I hear what Doris is saying.”

Jones says neighbors should know there is movement behind the scenes and violation notices given.

“Understand, we have to follow the law. The law gives them 30 days,” said Jones.

A complete fix will take time and patience but moreover, Jones says it’ll also take a commitment from neighbors, landlords and property owners to do their part.

“The quickest way to get this done… Sir, ma’am... Mr. Landlord, Mrs. Landlord, clean up your property," said Jones. "Your neighbors have an issue with it and I need you to comply and be a good neighbor.”

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