A Tennessee appellate court has sent an order to demolish four Applewood Apartment buildings back to a municipal board, and that board is scheduled to consider “unfit for human occupation and use” designations—but not demolitions—during a Thursday afternoon meeting.
The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had ordered the four buildings on Hunter Circle demolished on Nov. 11, 2010. The order was upheld by the Anderson County Chancery Court, but Applewood Apartments owner Joseph J. Levitt Jr., a Knoxville attorney, appealed.
In a three-judge opinion filed Oct. 30, the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Knoxville said the board “acted without material evidence to support its decision to demolish the buildings.”
The appellate court said the board may only order demolitions when repair costs exceed 50 percent of property values. However, no evidence was presented at the 2010 Applewood hearing about the original condition or value of the buildings, or the repair costs, the court said.
On Monday, Oak Ridge City Attorney Ken Krushenski said the board will not consider demolitions on Thursday, but will consider the “unfit for human occupation and use” designations as well as orders to vacate the buildings. The four buildings are at 105 and 115 E. Hunter Circle, and 119 and 121 W. Hunter Circle.
The board could also discuss other code enforcement steps.
The city has fought a code enforcement battle against the 13-building apartment complex on Hillside Road and Hunter Circle for several years. City officials say they want the buildings repaired, while Levitt says he has made repairs.
The battle has included demolition orders, court cases, and appeals.
Meanwhile, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson reported last month that eight of the 10 Applewood Apartment buildings could be demolished, and a new apartment complex could replace them under a plan proposed by an Alabama company.
The new complex could be called Hunter Ridge, and Watson said it could bring several million dollars of new investment into the neighborhood.
He said the project has been proposed by Huff Management Company of Opelika, Ala., and it is a “strong candidate” for a potential tax credit. Watson said Huff Management has a contract with Levitt.
Thursday’s Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals meeting starts at 3 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Training Room.