Area businessman given notice of dumping violation

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

LEESBURG, Ga. -- A notice of violation sent out to an Albany businessman last month for illegal dumping may potentially result in a citation if the materials are not cleaned up, Lee County officials say.

A letter dated Aug. 18 states that Lee County Code Enforcement had received complaints concerning the dumping of debris into Kinchafoonee Creek from 164 Creekside Drive, which is owned by Paragon Foods President Robert Newsome.

Inspection of the property uncovered several hundred red bricks, broken cement, metallic pipes and other demolition materials in the creek and creek bank.

"The depositing and leaving on private or public property of trash, garbage, refuse, construction and demolition materials, paper, cardboard containers, brick, cement, tree and yard clippings, cans, containers or any other rubbish and trash is a menace to public health and safety in the county and constitutes a public nuisance," the letter states.

Lee County Code Enforcement Officer Jim Wright said the materials ended up in the creek when a brick staircase on the property leading up from the Kinchafoonee was thought to be unstable and eventually demolished by the owner for safety reasons. As a result, demolition materials ended up in the creek.

Failure to clean up the mess could result in a maximum fine of $1,000 per day as well as a citation to appear in Lee County Magistrate's Court.

"We are trying to avoid a day in court," Wright said.

Officials from Code Enforcement and the Army Corps of Engineers met with Newsome Tuesday morning. Wright said he felt confident Newsome would have the materials cleaned out.

"We feel the property owner will do what is right," he said. "He seemed sincere about doing what's right.

"I just want the stuff out of the creek. If it comes out, the issue with me is over with."

At about 2:30 p.m., Wright notified a Herald reporter that Newsome had hired a clean-up crew to correct the problem.

"We hope to be in compliance in a short time," he said. "He (Newsome) was upset the news was out there, but he is working to get it cleaned up."

The Herald was unable to reach Newsome for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The mess was reported by volunteers cleaning up the Flint River, Kinchafoonee and Muckalee creek areas. Wright said he had gotten several calls regarding the situation.

"Various people have connections with the creek," he said. "Some are very passionate about the creek."