Whitehall wants to tear down condos deemed a 'nuisance'


Whitehall's Woodcliff Condominiums are in a state of disrepair and the city of Whitehall wants to use eminent domain to tear them down.

Council will have a second reading on the matter at its next council meeting.

The property, located at 4864 East Broad Street, has 127 owners. There are 317 condos.

Not all of them are occupied. A tour of the property shows some are abandoned an uninhabitable.

In an attempt to resolve a long-standing dispute with the Woodcliff Condo Unit Association, Whitehall City Council has proposed paying the owners $9 million to walk away from the property so the city can take it over and most likely tear it down.

A receiver has been appointed to either accept or reject the city's offer, but before that can happen all of the owners must be notified. The problem is some of the units are owned by a foreign investment firm in China.

Columbus attorney Jim Connors represents WCUA. He disputes the city's characterization that the property is a nuisance. He says new owners have come in and made significant improvements, but could not say what specifically.

He tells 10TV, " There has been a great deal of rehabilitation."​

Yasmine Davis, along with her husband and two children, live in a condo owned by a private landlord. The property does need improving.

"You want to feel safe and secure and you want to feel that about the property about your safety. Do you feel like property owners care? Some do, some don't," she says.

Nicole Moore says she moved in 4 months ago. She says she pays $750 a month for a three bedroom apartment.

She's happy with her landlord but has a mixed feeling if the city tore it down.

"I think that would be a great idea, Unfortunately, people would have to find another place to live, but I think it would be a great idea to knock it down and build something," she says.

In 2008, a judge ruled this property fit the description of a nuisance because instead of having separate water and sewer lines for each condo, there's only one. Which means when someone doesn't pay their bill their water is shut off.

The property went into receivership after the judge's decision.

Whitehall's Development Director says the city has no plans in place to develop the 37-acre property.

Attorney Joe Durham, who represents the city of Whitehall, says the condo association owes the city $88,000 for demolishing a condo.

Woodcliff Condos were built in the 1950's and in the 1980's neighbors complained about drug activity and sewage back-ups.

The city of Whitehall says it will finance the $9 million payment through the sale of bonds.