PERRY -- Emma Rich, 62, breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday afternoon when the city called off its planned inspection and possible closure of a block of apartments that included her own.
The city of Perry’s planned action against Crossroads Apartments was averted after its owner, Mark Green, was able to provide the city with a letter from a structural engineer that says the building in question is safe for occupancy, said Fire Chief Joel Gray.
In all, seven people living in five apartments would have been impacted had the city closed that part of the complex.
“I knew he had done it,” Rich said of an inspection by a structural engineer. “The city is just nit-picking.”
A separate inspection by the city’s fire and building officials had been scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, and if Green was not found in compliance, part of the complex may have immediately closed, Gray said.
Instead, Green and his wife, Miriam, their attorney, Clarence Williams III, City Attorney David Walker as well as fire and city official are expected to meet next week, Gray said.
“It looks like we’re finally getting a little closer to coming together,” he said.
The Greens have been embroiled in a legal battle with the city since March when the city threatened to close the entire complex and evict all of its tenants after fire code violations allegedly were found. The Greens successfully sought an injunction.
Also, a Superior Court judge ordered that the city produce a list of problems after an inspection. The city and fire marshals inspected and produced the list. Mark Green said he believes he is in compliance, but the city claims he has done work without required city permits. He said he doesn’t think he needed permits.
Gray said Green also was told by the state fire marshal’s office during that April inspection that he needed a structural engineer to provide an engineering assessment of the stability of the two-story building included in the complex.
The first floor of that building is on the back of the building. The apartments in the back are vacant and boarded up. But the apartments on the second floor that face the front of the complex are where people are living. A second, longer, one-floor building is adjacent, with the two-buildings joining to form an “L” shape.
About 10 minutes before city and fire officials were expected to arrive Tuesday, Mark Green showed The Telegraph an e-mail from Charles T. Wolfe Jr., a Macon architect that Green said had inspected the building. Wolfe said in the e-mail that in his opinion the flooring system of the building in question was sound.
“I had an engineer come out and tell me it was safe,” Green said.
He and his wife then headed to City Hall to show officials the e-mail.
Meanwhile, Green’s attorney had sent the engineer’s letter to the city attorney, who then forwarded it to fire officials, Gray said.
At that point, just before 2 p.m., the inspection was called off, Gray said.
Once the meeting among all parties is set up, Gray said it’s his hope that the Greens, the city and fire officials can work out a plan for correction in which everyone is on the same page. The plan would include how any remaining issues would be corrected and would include a timeline for correction, Gray said.
Green could not be reached for additional comment late Tuesday afternoon.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.