The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 26th

Fee increases may force nonpro?t out of Collins Crossing Apartments

An affordable housing nonprofit could be forced out of Collins Crossing Apartments in Carrboro if plans to charge a $5,406 fee per unit go into effect.

EmPOWERment Inc., which provides affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families, owns one unit at Collins Crossing and is in the process of buying two more to house homeless and disabled people.

STORY SO FAR
  • Nov. 3: Residents protest Aspen Square Management practices
  • Nov. 24: A 10-year-old boy fell through a deteriorating stairwell at Collins Crossing
  • Dec.19: Old Well Owners Association approves a $5,406 fee on all units
  • Jan. 8: Carrboro mandates Collins Crossing renovate 24 hazardous stairways by March 4

“Our mission is to help individuals and communities determine their destiny,” said Executive Director Delores Bailey.

But Bailey said the $5,406 fee will make the purchase of two additional units difficult for EmPOWERment.

“It’s a tremendous burden for everybody but particularly us as a nonprofit,” she said. “We don’t know where that money’s going to come from.”

The Old Well Owners Association, Collins Crossing’s homeowners association, approved the fee on all rental units on Dec. 19.

The fee is set to fund renovations being required by the town of Carrboro after a 10-year-old fell through one of the complex’s deteriorating and hazardous stairwells on Nov. 24.

The fee has sparked concern among many unit owners and local officials, who worry the costs will force unit owners to pass down the costs to low-income renters.

Bailey said she hoped there could be more cooperation between all of the unit owners at Collins Crossing.

“They’ve not been very receptive to our conversations,” she said.

“If they would come to the table with us, it would make a world of difference.”

Wendy M. Dale, another Collins Crossing unit owner, filed a lawsuit against Alcurt Realty Group and the Old Well Owners Association for levying the fee on Dec. 27.

The lawsuit states the $5,406 assessment against rental unit owners is unfairly large. The suit says the homeowners association did not act in Collins Crossing’s best interest.

The lawsuit also alleges the fee was passed after the homeowners association’s entire board of directors was replaced by the complex’s majority owner, Alcurt Realty Group.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said he has gone to speak at the homeowners association’s meetings about the issue.

“It appears that they’ve been somewhat responsive,” he said.

Chilton said the homeowners association has discussed reducing the assessment fee and giving unit owners 12 months to pay the fee.

But he said he doesn’t think that’s long enough.

“Two years would be more of a reasonable period,” Chilton said.

Aspen Square Management, which manages Alcurt’s properties at Collins Crossing, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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