Pulaski Town Manager responds to concerns over apartment condemnations

Last week, 13 families in the town of Pulaski were left with nowhere to go after their homes in Skyline Apartments were condemned by the Town of Pulaski.

This afternoon, Pulaski’s Town Manager Darlene Burcham responded to the situation, explaining the reason for the town’s condemnation action.

“It is widely known and discussed that the town condemned 3 buildings housing 13 families on March 23, but the circumstances which forced this action have been less known or understood,” Burcham stated in a press release.

“The decision to condemn these buildings was not taken lightly and was made when the Building Official learned they were occupied and when the owner could not or would not erect temporary, structural supports, within the week as required by the Building Official.

“While the general contractor had submitted plans and permit applications for renovation of the property in early February, the severity and extent of the structural issues was not detailed,” Burcham continued.

Burcham continued, “On March 21, the Building Official was called and asked to visit the property to answer some electrical questions. This was his first visit to the property. The open and obvious condition of the floor joists clearly reflected the structure was compromised and was unsafe for each of the buildings to be occupied.  Many of the structural floor joists had holes and /or notches larger than the building code allows, and were located in the center third of the span.  Some of these joists had visual evidence of failure showing cracks as a result of the floor load above.  It was the Building Official’s determination that it was unsafe to allow anyone in the building until such structural joists at least received temporary structural supports with a plan for permanent corrections made.

“On March 21, 2022 the owner was given the option to place temporary supports in the building within the week or the building would be condemned.  On Tuesday, March 22, Mr. Klein, the building owner, called the Building Official and declined to place temporary supports in the building without further explanation.

“As a result of the building owner’s indication that he could not timely add temporary supports, the Building Official was left with no choice but to proceed with the condemnation and issued a notice of unsafe structure that day. The attorney for the owner then notified his tenants that the condemnation would occur the next day.  The town was left with no choice but to proceed with condemnation.  All the tenants vacated by 5 pm on March 23.

“The outpouring of concern and help for these individuals is proof that Pulaski cares for its people.  It is unfortunate that these buildings had not been maintained in a condition that allowed the residents to remain in their homes, but the town is mandated to insure the safety of its residents and will continue to do so when unsafe situations are identified,” Burcham continued.

She also addressed a second incident, in which she said three families were forced to vacate their apartments that has also received public attention.

“This situation was the result of the owner failing to bring his property into compliance with fire safety and building codes violations,” Burcham stated.

“In this case, the property was inspected 35 days prior to the date to vacate and the owner did nothing to correct the problems.  The owner has an additional 30 days to correct conditions in the non-living areas.”

Burcham said the town has a rental inspection program and is committed to insuring that all tenants in the community live in a safe environment and that landlords maintain their property.

“If you would like information about the program, please contact our code enforcement officer, Carla Hodge at 540-994-8631,” she said.

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