Inquirer: Apartment house in disrepair may land owner in court

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 22, 2013 

MIKE OWEN/mowen@ledger-enquirer.comThis small apartment building on Eberhart Drive near Wynnton Road has drawn complaints from neighbors.

A small apartment house on Eberhart Avenue near Wynnton Road is getting on Concerned Reader Amanda's nerves, and I can't say I blame her.

The building is blockish with peeling paint, rotting woodwork, a trashy and unkempt yard and a roof that is shedding shingles like a long-haired cat in a sauna. Fascia boards are peeling and appear rotted in some places.

Amanda said she's not sure if anyone lives there, though she said she's seen people coming and going every now and then. There are no apparent mailboxes and no signs of lights, or life, evident from the road.

And there is apparently some standing water somewhere out back, because the mosquitoes pose a serious problem anywhere near the lot, Amanda said.

I called Greg Coates, director of Inspections and Codes for the city, to see if anyone had reported the house for inspection. And it turns out someone had, in March of last year.

An inspector examined it then and informed the owner of repairs that needed to be made, Coates said. Since then, the city and the owner have been going back and forth over the extent of repairs needed.

"We might have to take him to court and let the judge decide," Coates said.

An aside here: The property in question is next door to Country Life, a vegetarian health food store and restaurant -- a place you might be surprised to learn that I do not frequent. I have nothing against such places personally. In fact some of my best friends eat there and at other such restaurants.

But I am of the philosophy that if God hadn't wanted us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.

But in fact, I did eat there once, when my future in-laws invited my soon-to-be wife and me to meet them for lunch. As a precaution, I stopped at a Spectrum on the way, bought two Slim Jims -- the most processed of all processed meat products with a salt content higher than that of sodium chloride itself.

Anyway, as my future father-in-law was forlornly pushing some tofu concoction around his plate, I nudged him and handed him one of the Slim Jims under the table. His eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas, and from that day forward, I was in solid with the FIL.


While I had Coates on the phone I asked about the house at 5327 Miller Road, which I'd reported on about a month ago.

Coates said he'd sent an inspector to the house and the inspector wrote up whatever repairs the homeowner would be required to make.

The date for re-inspection, to see if the repairs have been properly made, is Oct. 4. If nothing's been done, the owner gets a ticket and may have to appear in court to explain himself. If all is well, then everyone's happy.

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