Published: Jan 04, 2013 12:09 PM
Modified: Jan 04, 2013 12:10 PM
CARRBORO - Town officials will hold a hearing Tuesday to set a deadline for repairing dangerous stairs at the Collins Crossing condominiums.
Code enforcement supervisor Mike Canova notified the Jones Ferry Road complex owners about the hearing in a Dec. 31 letter. Canova could issue work orders for repairing or replacing 24 stairways at the complex and set a deadline for the work after the hearing.
The town initially gave owner Aspen Square Management until March 4 to make the repairs, but Assistant Town Attorney T.C. Morphis Jr. said state rules also require two notices and a hearing.
If the work is not completed on time, the town could sue Aspen Square and force the company to make the repairs, or the town could make the repairs and charge Aspen Court for the work.
The complex has been the target of several inspections since 2010. The previous owners, Tar Heel Companies of Raleigh, knew about the problems and took out 19 permits, but didn’t complete the work before selling the complex to Aspen Square in June, town officials said.
The town did not take steps to force the repairs until Nov. 24, when a 10-year-old boy fell through a collapsed stair tread and was injured.
On Dec. 5, the town sent Alcurt Carrboro LLC – the company’s local representative – and the Old Well Owners Association a letter asking them to fix the problems within 10 days. Town inspections staff also posted condemnation signs at the base of the stairways.
The repairs have not been completed, and “the stairways continue to be a safety hazard and dangerous to life,” Canova said in the Dec. 31 letter.
Aspen Square has hired Excel Engineering owner Rob Munach to plan the repairs. The company’s representatives also met Dec. 19 with members of the Old Well Owners Association and levied a special $5,406 repair fee on its 332 units. About $90,000 of the roughly $1.8 million that the fee is expected to raise is designated for repairing stairs.
The owners, some of whom live at the complex, said they cannot afford a lump-sum payment and asked Aspen Square to set up a payment plan. Others asked whether certain items, such as windows, doors and stairs, are their responsibility and if others, including landscaping, are really necessary.
The company is considering their concerns, Aspen Square representatives said.
Aspen Square owns 77 percent of the Collins Crossing units and has a majority voice on the owners association board of directors. Aspen Vice President Jeff Strole was named the board’s president shortly after the complex was sold.