An attorney representing the city of Whitehall said he anticipates a hearing within two weeks in Franklin County Municipal Court concerning the city's complaint that Woodcliff Condominiums is a continuing nuisance.

Joe Durham, an attorney with Eastman and Smith who is representing Whitehall in its action against Woodcliff Condominiums, said he anticipates a hearing the week of April 16 in the environmental division of Franklin County Municipal Court.

The city has asked a judge to help negotiate a settlement with Woodcliff Condominiums, a 317-unit complex at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and North Hamilton Road.

A resolution authorizing Mayor Kim Maggard to make a "good-faith offer" of $9 million to Woodcliff's court-appointed receiver was expected to receive a third and final reading and passage during Whitehall City Council's April 3 meeting.

Durham said he expects the condominium's current receiver, Mark Froehlich, to be dismissed at the receiver's request and another receiver appointed, after which the city will seek a settlement.

"(Woodcliff) has already been declared as a nuisance, (and) we are moving forward with reaching a settlement," Durham said.

Whitehall first filed a complaint July 12, 2007, seeking injunctive relief, according to the resolution; on Feb. 4, 2008, an agreed entry declared the property a public nuisance.

Woodruff said last week the property remains a source of code violations and generates a considerable number of calls for police service.

The city levied the same complaints about code violations and calls for police service against the owners of the nearby Commons at Royal Landing before the city and its New Jersey-based owners reached an agreement for the city to purchase it for $5 million.

The site of that apartment complex has been leveled and soon will be redeveloped as Norton Crossing.

Brett Hoerig, elected as president of Woodcliff's advisory board, declined to comment at length but acknowledged that he was aware of the city's apparent intent.

"All I can say is we are in talks with the city and think we are continuing to make improvements to the property," Hoerig said last month.

Several owners at Woodcliff addressed council members at their March 20 meeting.

John Freeman of Fountain Lane said he owns two duplexes at Woodcliff and restored each of them.

Freeman told council members he purchased the property as an investment and some deficiencies were not disclosed prior to the purchase, but acknowledged this was an issue for attorneys.

Woodcliff represents "a kind of unit that is disappearing" and provides housing for "middle- and lower-income people" who would be displaced, Freeman told council members.

A man who did not provide his name said he owns multiple condominiums and was given "no warning" about outstanding issues. He added while the city may have a right to acquire the property, it should do so fairly.

He asked the city to allow time to correct issues and "not make (people) suffer for the mistakes that others had made."

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