Thursday, March 13, 2003

West Chester suing complex

Numerous complaints precipitate move

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Trustees agreed behind closed doors late Tuesday to sue operators of an apartment complex with a troubled history, alleging the management and development company reneged on terms of their zoning agreement.

Specifically, Wyndtree Rental Community on Smith Road off Ohio 747 is in violation for not completing and dedicating to Butler County officials the Smith Road connection north through the property, township records show.

Complex operators and developers also haven't been maintaining their landscaping, completed their parking lot or fixed a bike path in serious disrepair, township officials say.

Inspectors have had to make frequent trips to the complex for other property maintenance violations, added Brian Elliff, the township's planning and zoning director.

"They really just have not responded to us, so we have to go to the next step," Elliff said. "It's disappointing. It could be a very nice development. It's virtually brand new, yet we have to expend a lot of enforcement resources over there. They are letting down the community somewhat."

The suit will be filed today in Butler County Common Pleas Court against the Wyndtree Housing Limited Partnership of Columbus and Wyndtree Apartments, Elliff said.

The township is asking for an injunction to end the continuing zoning violations.

This is the latest in a string of problems at the complex, which opened in 2000and has 236 people living in 297 units with a tax-credit program for low-income residents.

Late last year, Butler County Department of Environmental Services threatened to shut off the complex's water after the owners didn't pay an outstanding water bill of more than $75,000. Wyndtree officials said at that time the complex's construction contractor defaulted.

Complex officials had to complete the project while fighting to get the funds from the building contractor. The water bill has since been paid, county officials have said.

Jo-Ann Wise, president of Affiniti LLC of Columbus, the complex's management company, said she was caught off guard Wednesday over the township's allegations and lawsuit.

She conceded to recent issues the township had over the complex's Dumpsters, but said those have been resolved. A township inspector even recently told operators the complex "looked great," she added.

"Nobody had any clue about anything. We haven't received anything from West Chester regarding any of this," Wise said.

Officials with the development company could not be reached for comment.


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