Home Evicted again: Police assisting B Street landowner with ‘trespass enforcement’ of homeless

Evicted again: Police assisting B Street landowner with ‘trespass enforcement’ of homeless

Crystal Graham
homeless b street waynesboro
Photo courtesy Pamela Mitchell

Residents on B Street in Waynesboro may see their neighborhood return to normal soon – just in time for warmer weather with the possibility of swimming and fishing in the nearby creek in the summer.

Residents there previously reported that a homeless encampment on private property was causing problems for families in the area. And to make matters worse for the residents, since Tent City on Essex Avenue was shut down earlier this month, the number of homeless individuals on the land has increased, creating more issues.

Waynesboro City Manager Mike Hamp told AFP Wednesday that the Waynesboro Police Department is “assisting the landowner with trespass enforcement.”

While the evictions may be good news for nearby residents and homeowners on B Street, it is bad news for the unsheltered people living on the private property.

Waynesboro Police Department Captain Alyssa M. Zullig said the Waynesboro Police Department and the property agent walked the private property near B Street yesterday.

“One individual was encountered and notified about trespassing. The property agent provided a notice to vacate the premises, and the individual was afforded 10 days to vacate the property. No other law enforcement action was taken.”

The private property is zoned RG-5, or residential.

“The zoning does not allow full-time camping,” Hamp said.

The property owner, Jim Critzer of Linco Inc., reached out to AFP Tuesday afternoon and said at the time that he planned to let the homeless encampment remain on his property despite the complaints.

Waynesboro does not have a full-time day shelter. A nonprofit, Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry, or WARM, does operate a seasonal cold-weather shelter through Easter, but is full.

Pamela Mitchell, who lives on B Street, reported that her children have seen people there urinating in the drive, and the unsheltered people living there have stolen a cooler and other property from her back yard.

“This is not OK around my children or anyone’s,” Mitchell said. “Kids used to fish and swim back there … it’s not safe now for anyone.”

Another person on High Street, Stacie Miller-Czelusta, said she has faced similar issues as Mitchell. She worries about fire hazards as well as the increased traffic through her yard.

“The city needs to start addressing this issue,” Miller-Czelusta wrote to AFP. “They have spread out to the residential areas and I for one do not feel safe in my own home.”

Residents of Tent City were given approximately one week to pack up and move out of their encampment there. No timetable was provided to AFP on the “trespass enforcement” timeline on the B Street property.

Former mayor and current Waynesboro City Council member Terry Short told AFP that he has asked for the issue of homelessness to be added to the agenda for the Council’s Feb. 24 retreat.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.