News

Greensboro City Council Meeting discusses housing court case, honors staff members

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Maggie Young

 

Maryam Mohamed
  Staff Writer

On Tuesday  September 5, the Greensboro City Council discussed recognition of exceptional members and scrutinized a pending court case on housing.

 

“The city of Greensboro was the first city in North Carolina to receive the certificate of achievement award in 1975 and we have done so for 41 consecutive years,” Greensboro finance director Rick Lusk stated. “This award is only given to cities whose government achieves the highest standard of government financial reporting.”

 

A second award was later presented to Betsy Richardson, who was deemed city clerk of the year.

 

“I was very surprised and very honored that the mayor and assistant city manager made the trip to Asheville to present me with this award,” Richardson said. “I can’t thank the management team, city council, and my support team because I would not have gotten that award without them.”

 

“Summit executive center at 817 Summit Ave, has been in the media quite a bit in recent weeks,” Interim Assistant City Manager Barbara Harris stated. “The apartment complex came to our attention through a petition submitted by the Greensboro housing coalition.”

 

“There are 25 units in the complex and at the end of August 6 of the units were vacant,” Harris said. “There were a number of violations found during the inspection, therefore a housing case has been started for each of the units.”

 

On October 22nd, Code Enforcement will visit the site again and reinspect all of the housing units. If they successfully meet the housing criteria, all of the cases filed against the complex will be terminated.

 

Brett Buyerly, a plaintiff for this case explained the horrific conditions of these housing units.

 

“Throughout my entire career as a building inspector, I have never seen anything worse than these units,” Buyerly stated. “25 units that the owner has been making profits from renting, are not habitable for human beings.”

 

“I spoke to a resident who has been living there for over a year,” Buyerly said. “Almost every part of his body is covered in bed bug bites.”

 

Brett Buyerly claims that although the city has done all that they can legally, it simply is not enough.

 

“I don’t think its enough for the man I spoke to,” Buyerly said, “and I don’t think its enough for the families who live there.”

 

The second plaintiff, Ben Berryhill, has been doing maintenance on the center for almost 20 years and reveals his thoughts on the facility.  

 

“I can tell you that it is a very minimalistic job every time that I go,” Berryhill stated. “I am trying to make their lives better when I go to do the repairs, but I am cut short by being unable to fulfill an actual living standard.”

Berryhill explained that the facility did not do a good job with the quality of the property.

 

“The ceilings themselves, due to the condition of the roof, are not attached to the ceiling joist,” Berryhill said. “I take my clothes off and dry them for an hour every time I leave there, which is what I have been doing for more than 10 years.”

 

Ben Berryhill concluded his argument by providing his opinion on the landlord of the institution.

 

“He does not have any interest in the overall condition of our neighborhood because he is an absentee landlord,” Berryhill declares.  

 

Additional details are available on the City of Greensboro website. The next Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Melvin Municipal Office Building’s Council Chamber, and is open to the public.

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