Published: Dec 14, 2012 04:30 PM
Modified: Dec 14, 2012 04:31 PM
CARRBORO - Town officials posted condemned signs Thursday outside stairwells at an apartment complex where a boy fell last month when the concrete stair tread gave way.
Inspectors could meet Dec. 22 with management of Collins Crossing to discuss a 10-day deadline for fixing dangerous stairs.
Code enforcement supervisor Mike Canova posted the signs in English and Spanish outside 24 of the complex’s 25 buildings.
“It’s not to scare (the residents),” he said. “We just want to keep them safe.”
Canova also sent a letter to Alcurt Carrboro LLC – the company’s local representative – and the Old Well Owners Association to let them know the stairs “are especially dangerous to life because of decay and defective construction.”
Earlier this month, the owners of the Jones Ferry Road complex were given until March 4 to complete the repairs, but Canova said Assistant Town Attorney T.C. Morphis Jr. has since advised them not to wait that long. The complex has been the target of several inspections since 2010. The latest was prompted when the 10-year-old boy fell Nov. 24.
Carrboro’s firefighters have been warned to be careful if they respond to incidents at the complex, Canova said.
The question now is whether Massachusetts-based owner Aspen Square Management can complete the work in 10 days, he said. The management is being cooperative and seems willing to meet state and local building codes, he said.
The management and owners association will meet Wednesday to “consider and vote to approve” a special assessment of $5,406 on each of the complex’s 300-plus units, or a total of nearly $1.8 million. The meeting was planned before the November accident.
Aspen also has hired Excel Engineering owner Rob Munach to plan the repairs. He declined to comment on the scope of the work, how much time it could take or the potential cost. Another company will handle construction, he said.
Canova said it could involve repairing or replacing just a few steps or landing pads on some staircases. Others may need to be completely replaced, he said.
The town sympathizes with the owners, who paid nearly $7.1 million for the complex in June, but if the work is not completed on time, the town will have “some teeth to take them to court if necessary,” he said. The previous owners, Tar Heel Companies of Raleigh, also knew about the problems and took out 19 permits, but didn’t complete the work before selling the complex.