2004-08-20 / Community

Bay Towers Residents Speak Out Against Unsafe Living Conditions

By Carrie Jones

More than four years ago, in February of 2000, The Wave ran an article about the problems at Bay Towers on Beach Channel Drive.

At that time, The Wave quoted Myrna Chapman, then acting president of the Bay Towers Tenant Association, as defending the steps the association had taken to remediate the problems in the building.

“[Under the plan] The residents can also look forward to upgraded elevator service,” she said in a list of improvements to be made to 320 Beach 100 Street.

Four years later, tenants are still waiting for the improved service that was promised in 2000, and they are angry.

Last Thursday, a handful of tenants gathered on the patio at the building to air their grievances during a press conference hosted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

“This building has been going down like a mudslide,” said 28-year resident Gloria Henderson. ”We want visibility and accountability from management.”

The mood was tense as each of the tenants chimed in, describing the horrible conditions that plague the Bay Tower apartments, including rat infestation, a dangerous playground, an empty, uncovered swimming pool, heat and hot water stoppages, unpredictable elevator service and an overall lack of communication by the buildings’ management.

The elevator situation is what galls the tenants the most. In a 14-floor building, only one of two elevators operates. This elevator is used for all moving between floors, including moves and garbage removal. Residents report up to an hour wait for the elevator on some days. When they can wait no longer, they trudge up the stairs.

A 14th floor resident was in the process of moving out during the press conference. When asked why she replied, “ I got two bad knees, an 80 year old mother and a pregnant daughter. Is that enough?” The stairs were too much for her.

Other residents cited many instances where going up and down the stairs hurt them or their neighbors.

“We have no functional [resident’s association],” said Henderson. “And management is not communicating.”

Many of the tenants said they didn’t even know ho the management company is, and when they call the numbers on the many flyers put up over the years, they get the run around.

Bay Towers is owned by Pickwal Bay Towers, the co-tenants in charge of operation are Bay Towers Company out of Lakewood, NJ and Bay Towers Limited Partnership out of Los Angeles, according to a February 1, 1999 Tenancy in Common Agreement. The most recent flyer posted on the property gives the contact name as “Bay Tower Apartments” and a local number.

Nobody at the number was available for comment by press time.

According to the Department of Buildings website, Bay Towers has 156 violations (both DOB and Environmental Control) and 28 complaints against it.

Why does anyone stay? Besides financial constraints, residents said that despite the many problems, they have affection for the place.

“I love my terrace, I love my apartment,” said 32- year resident Kathleen Casey. Even though her children

won’t visit her in the building they grew up in, she doesn’t want to leave the home that is so near her church and senior center, and where so many memories still live.

Bay Towers residents are not very hopeful that local politicians will ever help them in a noticeable way.

“These guys are worried about their particular committees. They’re not worried about us,” said Henderson.

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