Fayette County

Closure hearing rescheduled for student houses

At a hearing Monday, Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark rescheduled to Thursday a hearing on the city's request for a temporary injunction to close six rental houses.

The city says the buildings are being operated as boarding houses in neighborhoods reserved for single-family homes or duplexes.

During Monday's hearing, city attorney Rochelle Boland told the judge that with one exception, all the houses had at least one bedroom with a hasp lock or key lock on the door on Nov. 7, when city inspectors looked the properties.

The leases on the six houses were signed by people living in different locations, and most were signed by parents of students who lived there. All but one house had five or more people living in them.

Also, two of the six houses — 453 Oldham Avenue and 200 University Avenue — had been converted from legal, non-conforming duplexes back to single family residences without obtaining proper permits.

The other four houses are 1113 Crescent Avenue, 1115 Crescent Avenue, 1201 Crescent Avenue and 231 Forest Park.

The city, in its request for an injunction, said all the houses meet the definition of a boarding house in that meals and food costs are not shared, residents do not have unrestricted access to all parts of the residence, bedrooms doors are locked, and rent is pooled.

Attorney Bruce Simpson, representing property owners Michael and Michelle Haley, filed a response just hours before the hearing.

In it, Simpson denied the claim that bedrooms had individual locks and said that occupants in each house did share a common living area, kitchen and bathrooms.

Clark asked the two attorneys if they would meet and try to come to an agreement. He set another hearing for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The judge said if he granted the city's request for an injunction, he wanted students to know before they left for the semester break where they would be living in January.

Because the city got the defendants' response a short time before the hearing, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said the government did not have time Monday to file an answer.

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