By John Schaffner

The good news for the four ladies who own condominiums in building B-120 at Arborgate in Buckhead is that the gas lines that had been ordered rerouted by City Inspector Jerry Martin, because he deemed them to be a “powder keg,” have been fixed and have passed inspection on the second pass.

But, now there may be a delay in getting the sagging foundations of the units repaired.

In Municipal Court on June 25, the Arborgate homeowners association received a continuance until August 6 in a case in which they have been ordered to present a plan for fixing the sagging foundation for building B-12, which engineers report is being caused by voids that have developed under the foundation flooring.

The homeowners association was originally ordered to present the plan to the court on June 25 or possibly face fines of thousands of dollars a day.

The four neighbors in building B-120 at Arborgate, which is located at the end of Biscayne Drive in Buckhead, have been trying for 18 months to get their condominium owners association and the management company to deal with problems in their homes. The problems have resulted in badly cracked and separated walls, sagging floors and severely weakened foundations and have been exacerbated by aging and ruptured water pipes and the threat of ruptured gas pipes.

Only after more than a year of being ignored, the four women—Stacey Elgin, Adrea Nardello, Kimanne Allen and Karen O’Brien—ended up going to the city for help, hiring a lawyer and paying for numerous engineering reports out of their own pockets.

When Arborgate was built in the 1960s, the water pipes and gas lines for the units were run under the concrete floor, which was poured on top of them. As far back as 2000, there was an engineering study that informed the Arborgate homeowners association board that, because of the age of the development (about 40 years) those pipes were at the end of their live and needed to be replaced. They weren’t and ruptures have been declared the cause of the present foundation problems in building B-120.

An engineer hired by the women did load-bearing (foundation) testing in October of 2006. Even before issuing his final report, the engineer wrote a letter in which he said the building was “in danger of blowing up. As long as you have voids under the foundation, gravity is going to pull it down. So, it not stable. It is going to continue to move. Therefore those gas lines need to be addressed.”

On June 13, Andrea Nardello, who lives in unit B-10 in the building, received an email from Sean Rucker, the onsite manager for Community Management Associates, Inc., that a letter was going out that day about a homeowners meeting to be held June 21 to discuss hiring a contractor to work on the foundation problem.

“We have the three bids and are trying to figure our a start time,” Rucker wrote to Nardello. “Before this happens, we need to get a contractor to remove cabinets, stairs and wall board. This is so the foundation company can gain access to the floor to install.” He said he would have more information on that “in the next day or so.”

This was the first time the women had heard about removing cabinets, stairs and wall boards from their units for the foundation work to be done.

The homeowners association meeting was held on June 21. However, as of June 22, no meeting had been set between the four women and the contractors to walk them through the foundation repair and demolition/construction plan for their homes.