In the first local public nuisance action against a set of condominium owners, Environmental Court judge Larry Potter ordered the Wooddale Condominiums property in Fox Meadows temporarily secured, after authorities found signs of illegal dumping, gang graffiti, and numerous fire, health, and code violations.
About 10 percent of the run-down units remain occupied, but all vacant properties were boarded. Those who continue to live on the property were allowed to stay, but the Memphis Police will be enforcing a no-trespassing policy in which only residents and their guests will be permitted onto the property.
“Those who are living here are living in unbelievable conditions, and we have an obligation to help them,” said district attorney Bill Gibbons, at a press conference held outside the condos Monday afternoon.
According to Memphis Police director Larry Godwin, undercover officers have made drug purchases near the abandoned condos. They’ve also documented acts of vandalism, theft of copper and plumbing piping, and criminal trespassing on the property.
“Squatters have been living in some of these empty condos,” Gibbons said.
The remaining owners are ordered to appear in Environmental Court on Friday, Feb. 26th to answer to allegations in the nuisance petition. Unlike with most nuisance closures in which the owner is held responsible, the Wooddale Condominium Association has been named as the defendant in the case.