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Beaver Bay apartment purchase in limbo

The City of Beaver Bay is considering the purchase of the Beaver Bay Apartments. The property will undergo an environmental site assessment to rule out chemical contamination after a 2010 investigation discovered items and materials associated with the production of methamphetamine. Photo by Ken Vogel.

Ken Vogel

On Feb. 4, the City of Beaver Bay signed a purchase agreement offering to buy the Beaver Bay apartment complex on the west end of the city. The original offer of $260,000, which was approved by the council, came with some conditions. The greatest concern for the city in the purchase was one of liability and conversations with the seller had been underway to determine if there was reason to believe that the property had been contaminated by chemicals. Communications came to a stand- still when the City discovered records indicating the possibility that a meth lab may have once operated in one of the apartments.

0 Talk about it

In a closed session of the Beaver Bay City Council on Feb. 18, a decision was made to rescind the previous purchase agreement offer for the acquisition of the landmark apartment complex. According to city records, a three- part motion was passed to obtain further information about the property and asked that the city attorney do the following:

• Arrange an environmental study including testing for methamphetamine, asbestos and any other toxic substances.

• Obtain permission from the owner for necessary access to the property for the purpose of conducting the tests and estimating of demolition costs.

• Contact the top two names on the list of qualified contractors a demolition estimate.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Ervin Johnson, the property’s owner questioned the validity of the police report concerning the production of methamphetamine.

“It was not a lab, it was a brief case and it cost me thousands of dollars for clean up.” Johnson told the News- Chronicle adding that he still would like to sell the complex to the city if an agreement can be reached. “I went to the court house yesterday to evict the remaining six people. I have done everything the city has asked me to do.”

Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said that a Dec. 2010 investigation discovered items and materials associated with the production of methamphetamine in one of the apartments.

"It is unknown if meth was actually being produced in the apartment, but we established that items tested positive for methamphetamine," Johnson said.

According to Beaver Bay Mayor Kent Shamblin, the City is trying to ensure that it will not be assuming any outstanding liabilities with the purchase of the apartment complex.

“The city has to exercise due diligence to protect itself from future claims in the purchase of this property,” he said.

Shamblin said that Ervin Johnson has agreed to the inspection requests and that a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment—testing performed on commercial property to rule out the presence of contamination -- will be undertaken in the near future.

“This is different from a private party purchasing real-estate; we have certain obligations as a city. The City is still interested in purchasing the property but only if it serves the interests of our residents.”