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28-building Southwest Atlanta ‘crime haven’ to be demolished, at police behest

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Razing will mark the latest instance of widespread efforts to push back against blight

The Sierra Ridge apartments once carried the tagline “Welcome to the Good Life.”
The Sierra Ridge apartments once carried the tagline “Welcome to the Good Life.”
Apartment Finder

In response to complaints by Atlanta police, a sprawling, dilapidated, and reportedly dangerous apartment complex in Southwest Atlanta will soon be razed, marking the latest example of citywide efforts to push back against blight.

From December 2016 to July 2017, the city’s code enforcement officers tallied more than 400 infractions of housing codes at the 28-building Sierra Ridge residential complex on Delmar Lane, near the junction of interstates 20 and 285, according to city officials.

The busted-up buildings pose a public safety hazard, and cops complain the apartments have long been a “haven” for nefarious activity.

In October 2017, the property owners signed a consent agreement in Atlanta’s municipal court, promising to ratchet things up to code requirements within 27 weeks.

But in March, APD officers told the court the property owners had shirked their end of the deal—and that the complex was still blighted and full of ne’er-do-wells, city officials reported this week.

A photo of the Delmar Lane street view of the Sierra Ridge apartment complex.
The 28-building Sierra Ridge apartment complex will reportedly be leveled in the next 90 days.
Google Maps

During an April 23 hearing, Municipal Court Chief Judge Christopher Portis deemed the property owners in contempt of court and ordered the residences demolished within 90 days, according to an APD press release.

Portis said the property owners have “both admitted and failed to contest that the property is unfit for human habitation, contains dilapidated structures, is a haven for excessive criminal activity and has a plethora of old, unresolved and new Housing Code and Code Enforcement violations.”

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said she counts this as a win for the department, and she urges other negligent property owners to step up and ensure buildings are well-kept.

“We hope other irresponsible property owners will take notice and work to provide clean, respectable housing for [their] residents,” she said in the release.

The scope of the Delmar Lane complex.
Google Maps

Elsewhere in Atlanta, other local leaders are making strides in the fight against intown eyesores. Multiple members of the Atlanta City Council have launched initiatives to clean up neighborhoods struggling with crumbling buildings and litter.

Councilwomen Andrea Boone and Marci Collier Overstreet, of Districts 10 and 11, respectively, oversaw the demolition of a handful of abandoned properties early last month, according to the city.

Since his January inauguration, Councilman Dustin Hillis has been taking note of vacant, blighted structures with a cell phone app called See Click Fix, which forwards complaints of possible code violations to ATL311.

Atlanta Councilman Dustin Hillis is one champion of the city’s blight fight.
City of Atlanta

Last month, the council hosted a 21-event scrap tire drive to help clean up and recycle discarded rubber around the city.

And today, Councilman Amir Farokhi will scour the streets in his District 2 neighborhoods “to get an up-close look at some of the eyesores reported to 311 by constituents in his district—potholes, broken glass, cracked sidewalks, and damaged signs, among others,” according to a city release.

His office will also host a 2 p.m. press conference in Old Fourth Ward to discuss a new initiative called “Let’s Fix It, 2gether.”