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SB Police deem Miami Hills, Beacon Heights Apts. Nuisances

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SB Police deem Miami Hills, Beacon Heights Apts. Nuisances

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:23 pm

South Bend police deem Miami Hills, Beacon Heights apartment complexes nuisance properties
By Mary Beth Spalding South Bend Tribune Oct 4, 2019

A South Bend Police Department vehicle known as “The Armadillo” has been parked in the Miami Hills apartment complex for a week for security issues.
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Tribune Photo
SANTIAGO FLORES

SOUTH BEND — Two low-income apartment complexes this week were designated as nuisance properties by South Bend police.

Miami Hills and Beacon Heights got the designation by exceeding the minimum number of 13 verified nuisance calls in a 60-day period, department spokesman Ken Garcia said Thursday.


A verified nuisance call typically is a complaint about loud music, gunshots fired or finding stolen property that a responding officer is able to document.

Miami Hills had between 18 and 20 verified nuisance calls in 60 days, and Beacon Heights had 18, Garcia said.


The designation means that any verified nuisance call police receive going forward while the designation lasts could result in a $250 fine against the tenant or person responsible for the nuisance, according to Garcia.

Fines used to be levied against the property owner, but state law changed a couple of years ago.

Nevertheless, Garcia said, property owners generally are eager to work with police to implement changes that might improve security.

“They don’t want to be listed as a nuisance property, so the owners do work with us to try to fix their issues,” Garcia said.

Changes might include adding security personnel, improving lighting, establishing quiet hours or trimming shrubbery.

Andrew Carter, 27, of Sumnerville, who visits his girlfriend and toddler son often at Miami Hills, said frequent gunfire in the vicinity worries him the most.

He said he sees a lot of criminal activity around the complex, which he thinks is at least in part because there’s no security staff.


Carter’s seen police officers on patrol in the complex this week, which he said he’s appreciated. The department also has had its nuisance abatement surveillance vehicle parked in the complex, although it’s now due to be moved to another location.

Josh and Shylee Medina, both 27, live in a building at the back of the complex and said they haven’t heard gunfire or experienced many security problems. But it is pretty dark outside their building at night, they said.

“I would like to see the lighting improved,” Shylee Medina said. “I think that would feel safer.”

Miami Hills received the nuisance property designation Monday, and since then apartment managers have been “very, very cooperative” with police to address security problems, Garcia said.

The department also has been in contact with management for Beacon Heights, which received the nuisance property designation Thursday.

The designation lasts for one year. But if a property goes 30 days without a verified nuisance call, the city will shave 15 days from the designation period, according to Garcia.

Owners of the apartment complexes have 10 days to appeal the designation.

In addition to the verified nuisance calls that triggered the nuisance property designation, police have received numerous service calls for all types of issues to both apartment complexes in recent months, Garcia said. Over the past 90 days, police received 168 calls for service to Miami Hills, and 120 to Beacon Heights.

Other issues
This past spring, Miami Hills, a federally subsidized, 151-unit apartment complex, failed inspection by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, although an appeal of the inspection restored points so that the complex received a passing score. Tenants complained this spring about substandard living conditions, including mold, water leaks, pest infestations and other problems.


James Cunningham, deputy administrator for HUD’s Chicago regional office, said Thursday that Miami Hills owners submitted a plan for repairs in July and that HUD currently is working with the company to see the fixes are made.

The Medinas, who have lived in three different apartments in Miami Hills over the past eight years, said they’ve seen a difference this summer in response to maintenance issues. They recalled complaints they made about mold, water leaks and electrical problems in prior units that were never addressed. But this summer, they said, a complaint they made about a wall resulted in a contractor coming in to rebuild it.

A nuisance property designation would not directly affect HUD funding, Cunningham said. But the agency is concerned about any ordinance violation that runs counter to the complex’s business contract with HUD to provide “decent, safe and sanitary housing,” he said.

https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/l ... aWfYLEvZpk
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