Home Time’s up: Ten days pass, homeless remain at B Street encampment in Waynesboro

Time’s up: Ten days pass, homeless remain at B Street encampment in Waynesboro

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

A homeless encampment on B Street in Waynesboro remains open despite the City Manager saying the Waynesboro Police was “assisting the landowner with trespass enforcement” on Feb. 22.

Waynesboro Police Department Captain Alyssa M. Zullig said the Waynesboro Police Department and the property agent walked the private property near B Street on Feb. 21.

“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,” Zullig said.

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

“The zoning does not allow full-time camping,” Waynesboro City Manager Mike Hamp told AFP.

The property owner, Jim Critzer of Linco Inc., reached out to AFP Feb. 21 and said at the time that he might let the homeless encampment remain on his property despite the complaints because he has “compassion” for them.

A source reported to AFP this week that he was told Critzer has in fact agreed to let the unsheltered residents stay on the property but asked them not to let anyone else join them. The source also said that a porta potty may be added to the property soon for the homeless living there.

Pamela Mitchell, who lives on B Street, told AFP this afternoon that someone did clean up some of the trash on the property on Saturday, but the homeless people remain there.

She said the fire department was at the property on Monday because the people on the property were setting fires yesterday and over the weekend.

Augusta Free Press followed up with Zullig again on Friday.

“To my knowledge, there are no plans to return to the property unless the property owner contacts the Waynesboro Police Department and requests assistance or we receive a call for service at that location,” said Zullig in an email to AFP.

She said she did not have any updated information since she last communicated with us on the issue.

Mitchell said she called the Waynesboro Police Department on Monday to followup on the trespassing order, and she said the police department representative acted like they didn’t know anything about it.

Mitchell is frustrated with Critzer that he didn’t follow through with the trespassing orders despite the “unsafe” conditions for her family and other nearby residents.

“No one is being made to leave,” she said. “I hope he (Critzer) knows after all this he is taking on responsibility for all those people. If something happens to my children, myself or my home, I will be seeking legal counsel. He should be held responsible now that he wants all these strangers living on his piece of land.”

AFP reached out to the City Manager again to ask about fines or consequences related to using the land for ways other than what it is zoned for. As of press time, we have not heard back from Hamp.

Mitchell said her 7-year-old son was in her driveway when two vehicles flew by headed to the woods where the encampment is. She said he could have been hit if she hadn’t been right there with him.

She said there is traffic in and out of the area throughout the day and night.

To date, she said, nothing has been done by police related to her complaints about indecent exposure, theft and possible drug activity.

“If he (the land owner) wants to be liable for them and all this mess. The problems are now his,” she said. “If anything happens to my children and I, I will seek legal assistance.

“Why can’t they move in his back yard,” she asked. “My children haven’t been able to play outside for months because of them. I’ve lived her eight years now, and the past year has been so hard.”

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

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

Resident: Tent City evictees land at B Street encampment, ‘unsafe’ for children

Waynesboro homeowner says B Street homeless encampment ‘not safe’

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.