by Nick Lawton
MIDLAND - Controversy continues to swirl around an apartment complex in Midland.
At Tuesday's meeting, the Midland City Council opened all buildings at Blueridge Apartments for tenants, except for the two buildings directly behind Midlanders' homes, still need work.
The Council ruled that they now have six months to find a way to protect the privacy of those homeowners.
After months of public hearings and consideration, the motion to open the buildings of Blueridge up to occupants was passed 4-3.
But there's still the matter of the two buildings standing over the homes on Caldera Street.
"We're gonna hold the hammer on the developer to do what he says he's gonna do," City Council Member-At-Large, Scott Dufford, said.
The developer, Ken Lokey, presented his plan to obstruct his buildings' view of those Midlanders' backyards, and the Council approved it.
He now has six months to put them all together, including opaque windows on all units on the third floor on both buildings, shutters placed on the balconies letting in light but not vision, a line of trees in front of each building and sets of carports that the developer claims will stand 20 feet tall in front of the homes. All those obstructions will cost $125,000.
Then four City Council members will travel to the top of the buildings.
"We'll go and take a look at them, and if they've addressed those issues, if we can't peer into somebody's backyard, we'll instruct the staff to go ahead and issue a [certificate of occupancy] for those two buildings," Dufford said.
Only then will those two buildings be approved.
But residents still aren't happy, claiming there are other areas that other buildings will be able to see.
And even if their backyards are blocked, they say their property values are still hurt.
"One of the biggest things I'm concerned with is my property values," Gayle Carr, a resident on Caldera Street, said. "If the property value goes down on that street, that is on the North side of them, it'll affect the surrounding areas."
For the three members that voted against it, they feel they're slapping a Band-Aid on the issue, not curing it.
"I bet you if you evaluated it, this would be the cheapest solution," District 3 Councilman John James, said. "And I'm not sure the low bid is always the right bid."
The ball is now in the developer's court over the next six months.
We will of course keep tabs on the development of Blueridge as we get details.
As far as whether or not any lawsuit by local residents will be filed, that has yet to be seen.