Augusta's top building official told downtown shop owners they need to replace broken windows with new glass, not plywood.
Rob Sherman, the Augusta-Richmond County director of License and Inspection, told attendees at the Main Street Augusta membership meeting Thursday that vacant stores can no longer board up broken windows to secure vacant buildings on Broad Street.
The city imposed the new regulation almost a year ago to assist in downtown's revitalization, but Mr. Sherman reminded the merchants group of the ordinance because it never received much publicity.
"Because of all the redevelopment going on, whenever we have broken glass, we're asking them to replace glass," he said.
The regulations have a grandfather clause, Mr. Sherman said, so property owners currently using plywood to cover broken windows are not required to remove it, but he hopes they will comply with the policy.
"We know they're going to do it themselves to market the building," he said.
The city might be hard pressed to enforce its restrictions. Mr. Sherman said his four inspectors will handle almost 5,000 cases this year, though most of those will deal with overgrown lots and improper dumping.
Still, Mr. Sherman seems optimistic about the possibilities for downtown.
"Things are starting to change," he said. "There's a lot of opportunities for businesses to come to downtown."
Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.