Commissioners use variance request to clean up apartment complex

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By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

During the Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting on Sept. 7, Adam Saad, an attorney representing Wedgewood Village Apartments, presented a variance request to create some split lots and secure parking at the various parts of the apartment complex.

The conversation quickly became about the safety and security of Wedgewood residents, which members of the commission say are lacking.

When asked if the owners, American Community Development, based in Michigan, would be increasing the security, Saad said that wasn’t in the plans beyond some basic maintenance to bring the buildings up to code.

“Money will be used in the apartment building for sure. The residents will benefit from improvements,” said Saad. “On Eakin Road, there’s an entryway that’s not safe and they want to make that safe.”

When asked about Housing and Urban Development (HUD), he said they suspended inspections last year because of COVID-19, but they’ve started up again.

“When a rehab is scheduled, HUD comes out, they act as a third party, they do a thorough inspection and spot checks. If you fail basically to fix anything that you need to, then you have to fix anything that didn’t pass,” said Saad.

Commissioner Zerqa Abid said, “I don’t know how they passed that type of inspection every time, but I have pictures of extremely disgusting situations in which the people live. The new manager is very good, but I would highly suggest that if we can have them bridge anything as permission going forward, that we ask for more quality of life for the residents.”

Abid suggested using the variance request as leverage to get the property cleaned up by the owners.

“We’re really running out of time (to finance through HUD). We’re trying to make the project better,” said Saad.

Highlighting the safety issues at Wedgewood, commissioner Geoffrey Phillips said, during the meeting, a report came across of gunshots in the Wedgewood apartments.

Commissioner Jennie Keplar said, “It’s a big deal. I’ve lived here for most of my life. I remember in the 80s and 90s when they were having major issues with trash and crime. It seems like it never gets any better. And so we can’t just let the opportunity pass to make sure that the trash and crime issues are addressed.”

The commission voted 9-3 to table the variance request to discuss safety issues.

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