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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Sunday, May 14, 2000 - Page 9

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 14, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas                                Sunday May 14 2000 HERALDZEITUNO Page 9A 1A grandson and a family friend said she liked the apartment and had no complaints And she said she did not under stand why the city was making her move out in less man three weeks On May 1 the citys Building Standards Commission ordered the more than 1 SO residents in the Rosedale complex to vacate in 30 days because city inspectors found at least 150 violations of building fire health and safety codes during an inspection on April 7 The Rosedale Apartments are on Rosedale Avenue off W San Anto nio Street They originally were built as Army barracks in the late 1940s or 1950s The Rosedale and South Krueger complex have 42 units Among the violations inspectors reported no twoway firewalls sep arated the apartments no smoke detectors were found and improper electrical wiring was evident in all the units If one unit catches on fire then both units catch on City Attor ney Floyd Akers said referring to the absence of twoway firewalls Inspectors also said most apart ments had serious structural prob lems including rotted walls holes in floors collapsing roofs sagging floors and leaky plumbing in many units Akers said many units had water heaters within the living areas that were improperly vented And none of the units had insulation city offi cials said If the water heaters exploded they could kill the occupants of the Akers said But Lopez said her apartment was OK And one woman who is not a legal resident said conditions at the apartment complex were signif icantly better than where she lived before The conditions here are still nowhere like she said Its a lot better off here I was suffering over Lopez said if she had any prob lems with her apartment she made the repairs herself rather than calling the apartment manager She is reimbursed for the parts she buys but she does all the labor herself Lopez said if others who lived at the Rosedale Apartments did the same the apartments would be in better shape People should take care of where they she said But Akers said the apartments were unsafe regardless of how they looked in the inside New Braunfels code compliance officer Cory Chilcutt said You dont know what it looks like under neath the Akers said There are a lot of problems you cant see If you look at the foundation or look at the out side of the buildings theyre just not very Terry Hikel a building official for the city said the foundations on the apartments posed the greatest danger The piers underneath are rotten Some of the piers are sagging or leaning or pulling away from the concrete he said No wiring in the building is to code Its all old wiring from when they built the army barracks These were built back in the 1940s but the owner has to bring them up to code if theyre going to rent them The electrical work is way out of And Hikel said the walls in many units were cracking and pulling away from the ceiling because the floors were sagging If the city took the property own ers to municipal court they could owe up to in criminal fines Akers said San Antonio resident Emmett Cater owns 21 units on Rosedale Avenue and six units on South Krueger Avenue Cater who inherited part of the SERIES TUESDAY Residents say they cant afford to live anywhere else In New Braunfels and need more time to move out WEDNESDAY What are the city and the New Braunfels Housing Authority doing to help Rosedale residents find new homes Rosedale Apartments two and a half years ago said May 1 he was attempting to repair the properties but did not have enough experience with commercial properties to know how to proceed Cater said so far he has spent attempting to repair two units I am not an absent slum lord Im trying to do the right Cater said Tom Newlin who owns eight units in the middle of the complex declined comment But Hikel said some roof work had been done on the properties owned by Newlin Hikel reported Newlin spent about on repairs During the building standards commission meeting Cater said he needed more time to make repairs and some guidance from the city on how to proceed with repairs Im just he said The property manager who asked not to be named said They can be fixed up But I cant do it in 30 But several residents said they have complained about problems with their apartments long before now but repairs never were made Maria Serrano who lives in an PERI Beer can and trash collect behind an abandoned apartment apartment with her 5yearold daughter and 6monthold son said she has had problems with holes in the ceilings and floors When her daughter Araceli was 3 months old part of the ceiling in one of the bedrooms fell on her Maria said Right now Maria uses boards to cover up holes that open up to the ground underneath In one bedroom wall a large gap shows where the wall has pulled away from the ceiling Maria who has lived in the com plex 11 years said she complained about holes in the floor to the prop erty manager The manager said we were walk ing on the floor she said We tell them about it but they dont pay Maria said But he does come by when its rent time I wish they would fix it I would stay here if it got Julian and Teresa Serrano who live one unit down from Maria have experienced similar problems They have two daughters ages 1 and 7 In the kitchen there is a large gap between the top of one wall and the ceiling because the floor is sagging And Teresa said rats get in through the open space The wood underneath the sink has rotted from leaky pipes Holes in the bathroom and bedrooms walls have been taped up with duct tape And the floors slope in several areas Julian Teresa and Maria said they were concerned about their chil drens safety in the apartments Hikel said he heard one report of a child falling through a hole in the floor But the apartment manager he did make repairs but residents dont always report problems with their apartments People that live in them dont take care of he said They dont report problems until the floor falls out from under Patricia Meckler who has lived at the Rosedale Apartments for four years agreed She said she had no problems get ting repairs done The property manager always fixed everything I asked him to do If I had a problem he fixed it right she said Meckler said many of the resi dents did not speak English and the property manager doesnt speak Spanish so they never communi cated their problems to him As of now the future of the Rosedale Apartments has not been decided The city and the New Braunels Housing Authority are working together to help find housing for residents who are eligible Akers said if residents could not find housing after 30 days the com mission could decide to extend the deadline at its next meeting June 5 The property owners have 30 days to secure the structures then the commission will reevaluate the sta tus of the complex Cater said he would like to reno vate the apartments But it could require a substantial amount of money to bring the com plex into compliance with city code The Comal Appraisal Dis trict estimated the current appraised value of each lot at to The property owners contractor estimated up to per duplex would be needed to bring the com plex into code compliance Staff Writer Peri StonePalmquist contributed to this 1A gotten callsfrom neighbors who were concerned about conditions in the past He said many residents living near the apartment complex were hardworking citizens who main tained their homes but were con cerned about the physical condi tion of the apartments and the activ ities taking place there They wish they would do some thing about he said Its been like this since the Nadine Murdoch director of the New Braunfels Housing Authori ty said the Rosedale Apartments failed to meet standards for Sec tion 8 assistance in 1979 and again in the 1980s But city manager Mike Shands said until recently it was difficult to make property owners comply with the codes The city mostly would write up notices for environmental violations such as garbage or rub bish outside the property Property owners of the Rosedale Apartments have violated codes before mostly for environmental hazards Shands said For complaints about trash out side or a container of oil we gave them notice of the violation Then inspectors discovered when they gained entry a number of other vio lations that will be expensive to he said It was hard to get in until we had the code compliance officer because we couldnt get warrants and we couldnt prove reasonable he said City council approved an ordi nance in August 1998 establishing the building standards commission but the group didnt start meeting until June Before the otity course of action was municipal court City Attor ney Floyd Akers said The commission gives property owners due process Akers said This is beyond what municipal court can he said And the creation of a code com pliance officer also has helped with enforcement Shands said Now we have the right to gp and inspect hold hearings ub pqena witnesses The commisaion gave us the ability to enforce and regulate We didnt have all those tools available before he said We also are fortunate to have a city attorney Floyd Akers who is willing to aggressively pursue some of these violations and take the time to document the violations and con vene the board After the city has discovered a code violation it will send out a notice to the property owner and allow the person 30 days to pre pare for a hearing before the com mission At that hearing the owner is required to submit proof of any work that might be required to com ply with city codes and the amount of time required to perform that work The commission decides partly based On that testimony whether to allow work on the property or to order its demolition at the expense of the property owner City inspectors found 150 viola tions of building fire health and safety codes during an inspection of the Rosedale complex April 7 Among the biggest violations were major structural and electrical problems with most apartments including rotted walls holes in Its been like this since the Juan Luis Martinez Mayor Pro Tom floors collapsing roofs sagging floors and leaky plumbing Elec trical wiring in all the apartments is not up to code and there is no insu lation or twoway firewalls in any of the units city officials said The property owners were ordered to secure the apartments in 30 days and to take care of immediately major health hazards such as a pipe leaking raw sewage onto the ground Besides the physical conditions of the apartments criminal activity around the apartment complex also has been a big concern From 1991 to 1998 numerous police calls to different units in the complex have been for serious vio lations including assault causing bodily injury aggravated assault theft criminal mischief burglary of motor vehicles and habitations disorderly conduct intoxicated pedestrians and terroristic threats Several residents said young men gathered outside the units at night and drank Akers said residents routinely had outdoor bonfires which violates city code One man who lives in the apart ment complex said men would gather around two vacant apart ments at night New Braunfels code compliance officer Cory Chilcutt said inspectors found evidence that kids entered the unsecured abandoned apart ments at night A videotape of the abandoned units taken April 7 showed condom wrappers empty beer cans and beer bottles inside the units During a May 1 building stan dards commission meeting com mission members broached the sub ject of rebuilding the structure arid getting Section 8 housing assis tance to help finance it But Housing Authority Director Nadine Murdoch said even if the complex was rebuilt it probably would not qualify for assistance because of the surrounding neigh tries to build low income housing in middle income she said Akers said many structures in violation of health safety and build ing codes tied up the commission Were he said Theres only so much we can do at a time And theres a lot of structures like this We go off complaints more than But he acknowledged the Rosedale Apartments are specifi cally unsafe because of the struc tural problems The commission has not yet decided the fate of the Rosedale Apartments The commission will reevaluate the status of the com plex when it meets June 5 WALL TO WALL LIQUIDATION SALE en pc Corsicona SPRING Beautiful iron Beds Floor Models Twin M pc Full ea pc Queen set King POSTURI PRBMIBR Plush 449 Twin ea pc PUll ea pc Klny get Queen 189 POiTl Plush or Plrnt Queen Twin ea pc PUll Kino UP TO 70 Off Futon Clearance STARTING AT with 8 Put on Mattress with a minimum purchase Handcrafted Solid wood Furniture UP TO 35 SOUTH or rAftw 8H9WIN9   

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