By Special to the Daily World
On Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 the Grove Apartments were ordered by Fulton County Environmental Court to pay $2,200 to residents impacted by the discoveries made by Fulton County Code Enforcement (FCCE).

The decision comes after FCCE conducted an unannounced code compliance sweep on Tuesday, Aug. 9, of The Grove apartment complex.  Fulton County Code Enforcement uncovered raw sewage leaking into 9 of the 12 buildings on the property.

The county deemed the buildings unfit for residents to reside due to subsequent health and safety concerns.  Residents were immediately vacated from the premises by FCCE and the owners of The Grove Apartments were cited.

Fulton County activated its team and called in the Health and Human Services, Fulton County Police departments, Atlanta Legal Aid and the Solicitors Office for assistance while providing all impacted tenants short-term temporary housing.

The initial hearing for this case began Friday,  Aug. 12, and wrapped up on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Fulton County Code Enforcement entered into negotiations with the defendants to attempt to agree on a “negotiated plea” that would hold the defendants accountable, avoid a possible lengthy criminal trial, and provide restitution to both impacted tenants and Fulton County.

The court order stipulates that tenants will receive a one-time cash payment of $2,200 for each lease/apartment to cover relocation and other costs.

Grove residents who were not current on their rent and subject to dispossessory proceedings will receive $1,000.  Fulton County will receive a certified check in the amount of $20,000 to cover expenses incurred while providing temporary housing for tenants.

Tony Phillips, assistant director of Fulton County’s Environment and Community Development Department, said, “This ruling by the court is a victory for both the displaced residents and the county. The funds that the county will receive will leave us in a position to provide assistance in the future should citizens find themselves in similar unfortunate circumstances.”

The CEO and two corporations cited remain under the court’s jurisdiction to ensure that the buildings and their code violations are brought into compliance.

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