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April 17, 2013

New Albany apartment to be vacated, again

City must approve electrical work prior to reopening

NEW ALBANY —

A Main Street house which sits in an historic preservation district will again be vacated by order of New Albany Building Commissioner David Brewer. 

Two weeks ago, a neighbor to the 1308 E. Main St. building complained to the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety that the structure was again being occupied without city approval. 

In 2011, Brewer ordered the then five-plex apartment building to be vacated due to structural and electrical wiring conditions. 

At the time it was owned by Matt McMahan, who said requirements enforced by the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission to repair the building were too costly and stringent. 

He later sold the building to local developer Chad Sprigler, who made improvements to the structure to keep it from being condemned and demolished. 

However before it could be used for residency again, Brewer said additional repairs had to be made and electric panels had to be installed in each of the rental units. 

Brewer did approve allowing a back portion of the house that already had an electric panel to be rented out by Sprigler, who said he wanted to transform the structure into a more upscale apartment building. 

Following the complaint of J.B. Hawkins, a neighbor of the property, Brewer said he met with Sprigler and his electrician at the Main Street house last week. 

There was a woman living there, and Brewer said the city is in the process of providing written notification that she must move out of the building until it is approved for occupancy. 

For one, electric panels still need to be added in each of the rooms, Brewer said. 

Sprigler “has been very cooperative and understands there’s things to do, but he didn’t realize he needed to take it that far,” Brewer said. 

Hawkins again appeared before the board of works on Tuesday and said in his opinion, the city is assuming liability by allowing someone to live in a rental property that hasn’t been cleared for occupancy. 

“Repairs have been made, but without the proper inspections, how can it be allowed that someone live in it?” he asked. 

The city is in a notification phase with Sprigler to ensure the proper steps are being followed by both sides, Brewer said. 

“We have to work with everybody — all sides,” Brewer said. “It’s one of those deals where you’re constantly trying to hit a moving target.” 

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