The new owners of the often-troubled Perrywood Garden Apartments in Perryman recently told members of the Bush River Community Council that they're committed to fixing the many problems they inherited when they bought the 184-unit low-income complex.
Complaints about mold, drainage problems, broken air-conditioning units, bats roosting in buildings, raw sewage and a number of other issues were raised Sept. 17 at the regular Bush River Community Council meeting. The apartment complex was put on the community council agenda because of previous complaints, and because the council's chairman, Larry Carmichael, had scheduled a meeting at the complex with a representative of the new owners, the New Jersey-based Tryko Partners real estate group.
Carmichael was joined at the subsequent Sept. 19 gathering at the apartment complex by other community council members, as well as by staff members sent by the Harford County Council and by Del. Glenn Glass, whose District 34 includes Perryman.
In a report he prepared for the community council, Carmichael concluded after the meeting and tour of the complex: "It was a good meeting. All the questions we asked were either answered or action was taken to get resolution. Tryko allowed us into any area we asked, and absolutely share[s] our goal of improving the quality of life within the Apartment Complex. But clearly there is a good deal of work that needs to be done."
Overall, the representative of the new owners, Mark Gold, vice president of operations for Tryko, is quoted in Carmichael's report as saying: "This property has tremendous potential, and we are working hard to address numerous issues left by the previous owner...Many of the issues pre-date our acquisition and continue to be a concern to the community."
Regarding complaints about sewage leaking from pipes onto the apartment complex's grounds and into its buildings, it remains unclear if the water in question is sewage. Carmichael's report notes a health department inspector visited the site Sept. 4 and concluded there was no sewage contamination.
Carmichael's report goes on to say: "however, Tryko and the community group feel this needs to be further evaluated so a water sample was taken for analysis and Tryko is hiring a professional to check for leaks, blockage and other encumbrances."
Bats could prove to be a more difficult issue to address. Last summer, there were substantial problems with a bat infestation at Perrywood and the previous owners hired a contractor to deal with the issue. It appears bats, some species of which are migratory, returned this summer and took up residence in some of the complex's eight buildings.
According to Carmichael's report, the new owners have been dealing with both the Harford County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources "to handle the delicate nature of the federally protected bats that have been a problem at the complex. The company has sealed entryways to keep the bats from entering the interiors and continues to work toward a permanent resolution of the issue with help from the community."
Harford County has no health standard with regard to mold, though Carmichael's report says "everyone agreed the mold needs to be addressed." The mold is believed to result from leakage and drainage problems.
Carmichael's report also notes seven of the 16 roofs on the eight buildings at the complex have been replaced and the others are being evaluated.
Drainage has been a problem on the grounds, but a landscaper recently did some work to change grading around some of the buildings, resolving the problem, according to Carmichael's report, which cites tenants who noticed improved drainage after a recent heavy rain.
Tryko is also evaluating the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems serving the apartment complex and is expected to repair or replace malfunctioning units before next summer. In addition, the new owners have replaced damaged outdoor postal boxes and relocated them to areas inside the buildings.