Home Property owner responds: Has ‘compassion’ for homeless, will allow them to stay on land

Property owner responds: Has ‘compassion’ for homeless, will allow them to stay on land

Crystal Graham
homeless encampment Waynesboro
B Street homeless encampment, image submitted by Pamela Mitchell

Residents in the B Street area in Waynesboro are upset over an influx of homeless individuals setting up tents on private property along a creek.

One resident said that since Tent City on Essex Avenue was shut down, a number of the city’s homeless have relocated to the area behind her home.

She had reported the issue previously to the city’s police department multiple times due to problems with theft from her yard and indecent exposure issues but she said the city has not done anything to address her complaints.

As reported on Monday, the private property is reportedly owned by Linco, Inc.

Despite numerous attempts by the resident to reach Linco and Jim Critzer, as we reported, those calls were not returned. An email sent by AFP for comment was also not returned.

Critzer did reach out to AFP by phone on Tuesday afternoon to confirm he does own the property in question.

He said he visited the homeless encampment on Tuesday. Critzer said that he has “compassion” for the people there who have nowhere else to go after the Essex Avenue encampment known as Tent City was shut down.

Critzer said the city needs to do something to address the overall homelessness issue, and people should be upset with the city, not him or his company.

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.

Despite complaints from residents nearby, Critzer also said that he plans to draw up papers to allow the homeless individuals to remain on the property owned by Linco.

The 14.9 acre property is located in Ward A and is zoned RG-5, or general residential. The value assessed by the city is $52,300. Linco Inc. purchased the property on May 3, 2022, based on city GIS data.

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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.