BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: A Birmingham City Council meeting to discuss Larkway Gardens Apartments is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2015 at 9:30 AM.
ORIGINAL: A community hearing will be scheduled in the next two weeks to discuss the future of Larkway Gardens Apartments.
The dilapidated property has sat unkempt for more than a decade, and just when the City of Birmingham and the newly active Birmingham Land Bank Authority got ready to announce the future of the neighborhood eyesore to the community, the owner steps in to request a hearing.
Monroe Holdings hand delivered a letter to the Chief Condemnation & Demolition Coordinator Friday. The letter cites Alabama Code §11-40-32(a) which allows persons, firms or corporations with interest in the property to request a hearing to dispute findings by a municipality that their property is unsafe to the extent of becoming a public nuisance.
The letter says, “We realize that the current state of this property and its future status are of concern to the city and most especially to those who live in the area – and rightly so. Toward that end, we have begun taking steps to remediate the property and the buildings located there on.”
Larkway Gardens sits in District Six of Birmingham, an area represented by Councilor Sheila Tyson. She has been trying for more than 10 years to address the status of Larkway Gardens Apartments. She calls it a nuisance. When Councilor Tyson found out about the letter sent to stop the emergency demolition she said, “they have had an ample opportunity to bring that community out of that destruction and change the quality of life of the citizens that they have left drenched in filth, poverty, and waste. The property is dangerous it’s a hazard to your health and they thought nothing of that since 2002. Now in 2015 you want to be a good partner.”
Tyson also said “that’s what slum lords do, they move at the last minute. He sees that the city is tearing the property down. They have received letters for the last two years about the property.”
WIAT 42 News asked Monroe Holdings representative Julie Pearce about the city notifications regarding Larkway Gardens Apartments. Pearce, who is an attorney with Gaines Gault Hendrix PC, said “I think initially they were going to the wrong address. This is the first I have gotten in quite a while, that I was made aware of.”
Pearce said she has been involved with this property at Monroe Holdings for the last two years and told WIAT 42 News, “I do not know the history of the property.”
It will be determined sooner rather than later if Larkway Gardens will be history in West End.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell said, “We will hold the hearing in accordance with the law and we want the public to come out and voice their concerns. We are tired of properties like this languishing and we are serious about enforcing accountability.”
Councilor Sheila Tyson said, “We will put in on the agenda for a public hearing not tomorrow, but next Tuesday. The City Council will vote on it, the citizens will speak on this. And, we will go right ahead with our plans in the first place.”
You can read the full letter sent by Monroe Holdings below:
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News