By Jenny Surane | The Daily Tar Heel
Updated: 01/08/13 8:33pm
Since a boy fell through stairs at Collins Crossing in Nov, the town mandated the complex to renovate stairs in 24 of the buildings.
The owners of Collins Crossing Apartment Homes will be required to complete renovations on stairwells in 24 of the complex’s 25 buildings after an investigation revealed hazardous and disintegrating stairwells.
The Carrboro code enforcement office issued the mandate Tuesday, more than a month after a 10-year-old boy fell through a stairwell at Collins Crossing and was hospitalized.
Carrboro code enforcement supervisor Mike Canova said he performed the initial inspection on Dec. 3 before sending a notice to the owner’s of the complex notifying them about the condition of the stairways.
The owners, which include individual unit owners and Alcurt Carrboro, LLC — the primary owner of the complex — are required to complete all renovations by March 4.
Jarrod Stelly, who is in charge of the renovations at the complex, said he sees no reason why the repairs won’t be completed in time.
“It’s definitely in disrepair and it’s been like that for years and we’re here to fix it,” Stelly said.
He said his company has already begun to take steps toward fixing the stairs.
“After the incident, we became more proactive,” he said. “We did temporary shoring up of all staircases with wood.”
Canova said his department will make weekly inspections to monitor the progress of the repairs to ensure they are done in a timely manner.
Bob Hornik, attorney for the town of Carrboro, said if the owners fail to meet the deadline, the town plans to pursue legal action.
Paying for it all
On Dec. 19, the Old Well Owners Association — the homeowners association for the complex — approved a special assessment fee of $5,406 per unit.
The plan for the fee was drafted by Jeffrey Strole, the vice president of Aspen Square Management, which manages the property.
The association did not specify what the fee will be used for, but owners believe the money might go toward the renovations.
UNC sociology professor Judith Blau owns two units in Collins Crossing, and she said she worries that the fee might transfer into higher rents for many of the complex’s low income renters.
“Collin’s Crossing is home to many low-income families, and if rents are raised, they’re going to be moving,” Blau said.
Blau said many of the unit owners felt that the new fee was unfair.
“Some of us felt that if they bought the property they should have made the investments for improving the property,” she said.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said he is happy the homeowners are taking steps to repair the stairwells, but he wants them to create a payment plan for owners to pay the fee over a couple of years.
He said he does not want condominium owners to expect low-income residents to shoulder the fee.
Chilton added that he wants to protect residents in the complex from being forced out by the fee.
“If they’re going to play hardball then so am I,” Chilton said.
Contact the city editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published January 8, 2013 in City
full link here