Sunday, May 17, 2009

Homeowners Association Complaints to Codes about Warehouse Squatters Go Unheeded until Fire

I received an e-mail update from a Madison Square HOA leader on last week's multi-alarm fire at the Freshpoint warehouse in Germantown. HOA members have continually filed complaints of squatters at the warehouse at Metro Codes without any response, leaving leaders to believe that either Codes did not follow up on the complaints or the owners of the property, Bristol Development, ignored Metro Codes.

Last week's fire apparently caused the folks at Bristol to get their rears in gear on squatting at the warehouse as they sent the following e-mail to council member Erica Gilmore and copied to Historic Germantown, Inc. leaders:

Thank you for taking time to talk with me this morning. As you know, Bristol Development Group owns the block surrounded by 5th & 6th Avenues and Jefferson St. and Madison in the Germantown neighborhood. This block will soon be the site of our Vista Germantown apartment community.

As you know, there was a fire in the warehouse building on the site late Wednesday afternoon. Apparently the fire was started by intruders using the warehouse as a temporary residence. Fortunately the fire was contained before any surrounding property was damaged and there were no personal injuries as a result of the fire. It wasn’t until the Wednesday fire that we were aware of anyone living in the building. We had not seen any signs of intrusion and we had not been notified by anyone of the fact there were people living there.

We took steps yesterday to board up all of the doors into the building. Hopefully this will eliminate any further incidents like this. Nevertheless, we would be very grateful if people in the neighborhood will let us know if there are further issues with the building. Good contacts at Bristol would be any of the following:

· Me 627-9412

· Scott Black 627-9437

· Glen Bartosh 312-3102

We also are aware the grass is overly long and have engaged someone to cut it early next week.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

It's a shame that it took a fire to encourage Bristol to heed their neighbors and secure their property against break-ins. By choosing not to board up access to their building until now, they put their neighbors at undue risk not just to building fires but to potential crime and blight.

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