An apartment building to which the Takoma Park city government distributed letters outlining tenants' rights in condominium conversions was incorrectly identified in an article in Wednesday's Maryland Weekly. The building involved is the Park Maple, at 7777 Maple Ave.
Takoma Park last week adopted Montgomery County's strict condominium conversion law, after residents of a local apartment building expressed concern that they might lose their homes on short notice.
The emergency ordinance, narrowly passed, assures tenants of an opportunity to buy their building as a group before condominiums are offered on the open market. It gives those who choose not to buy their units the right to continue renting up to six months after the state approves condominium sales.
The law also requires that handicapped, elderly and low-income tenants be allowed special leases to remain in their apartments indefinitely after conversion.
The City Council directed City Administrator Alvin Nichols Sr. to deliver letters to the tenants of Maple View apartments, 7777 Maple St., outlining their rights and explaining that state officials have received no application for permission to convert the building.
In sessions earlier this month, council members said Maple View tenants had received letters from the building's owners, Residential Resource Corp., announcing that the firm intended to sell the apartments as condominiums.
Council Member Frank Garcia said he had interviewed the owners and found no complaints from tenants. But Council Member Herman Williams, who lives in a neighboring apartment building, said some Maple View tenants told him the owner's letter left the impression that the conversion was imminent and they would have to look for other housing immediately.
Mayor Sammie A. Abbott said the council adopted the county law "just as a holding action, until we get our own." The council named a committee to draft a substitute city ordinance for consideration later this summer.
The ordinance was adopted on a 4-to-3 vote. Abbott said council members objected to some features of the Montgomery code, including one that would give the county, not the city, the first opportunity to purchase buildings up for condominium sales--a feature Abbott said the city law should change.
In other action, the council appointed a committee to find a new city attorney to replace Vincent L. Gingerich, who resigned in April. Attorneys Jean Davis and Woody Peterson, along with John Fleming, Virginia Gallagher and Stanley Parris are to work with council members William Eckert and Joseph Faulkner to find a new lawyer for the city.