Walnut Knolls Apartment Complex In Madison Township To Be Demolished After Five Years Of Litigation In The Environmental Court Accomplished By A Transfer To And Funding By The County Land Bank

Posted on 6/19/2013

Defendant: Walnut Knolls Apartments Blight

State ex rel Ron O’Brien and State ex rel Rick Steltzer were filed in the Environmental court on 7-31-08 by the County prosecutors office in order to declare a neglected and problem apartment complex with 51 units a public nuisance. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of the Franklin County Board of Health and the Madison Twp Fire Marshal Richard Stelzer.

The apartment complex built in 1971 was located at 3232 Noe-Bixby Rd in Madison Twp and had been a source of complaints to the trustees and a nuisance to neighbors with health and fire code violations. Prosecutor Ron O’Brien assigned Asst Pros. Tracie Boyd to the case, who specializes in Zoning and Nuisance abatement cases in the Common Pleas and Environmental court.

After multiple hearings former Judge Harland Hale declared the premises to be a nuisance and ordered the code violations cured.

However, the case lingered in Environmental Court for years, due to changes in ownership and lack of funding to demolish the structure.

When the owner was finally prepared to demolish, the contractor who entered the building found asbestos.  This significantly increased demolition costs and the owner was without sufficient financing to proceed.

In order to accomplish the demolition and abatement of the nuisance Ms. Boyd approached the newly formed county land bank to determine if that entity would take title and if funds were available to demolish the nuisance premises.

With the cooperation of Treasurer Ed Leonard and the County land bank the title was transferred to the land bank on 3-12-13.

Since that time contractors have been removing the asbestos and the demolition of this nuisance property is scheduled to begin on 6-21-13.  Surrounding property owners who had previously been very vocal regarding the multitude of problems at the property have been in continuing contact with the prosecutors office.

APA Boyd informed them that demolition should be completed within the next few weeks.

Prosecutor O’Brien said: “This case is a perfect example of cooperation between township, fire, health, and the prosecutors office with the Treasurer and land bank to eradicate a neighborhood blight”.