Thursday, April 24, 2008

Palmer Place Dispute

Samantha Pompeo

It seems the moment students arrive at the beginning of fall quarter, everyone asks where people are living NEXT year. With landlords like Cornwell Rentals signing leases during the first weeks of the school year, available apartments and houses go quickly. In the fall of 2007, students were introduced to a new option: Palmer Place.

Located on Kurtz Street, construction is currently underway on a combination of three-bedroom, four-bedroom, and five-bedroom apartments that will house more than 250 students. Just a few months away from opening day in the fall of this year, construction hit a snag when Palmer Place of Athens filed a lawsuit a week ago against Paula Moseley, Service-Safety Director and Nick Carr, Water and Sewer Director.


When Cornwell Rentals received a bill from the Water and Sewer director for $179, 212.50, a red flag went up at Cornwell. Attorney Gerald Mollica questioned how the price was calculated. Mollica says when Cornwell tried to contact Moseley and Carr, its calls for an explanation went unreturned. According to Mollica, the ongoing lawsuit was inevitably the next step.

Gerald Mollica explains why Palmer Place decided to take legal action against the city.


At his weekly news conference Wednesday, Mayor Paul Wiehl said that the city should not be held accountable for the problems of a developer. Wiehl says the tap fee is determined by a base fee of $1000 plus a calculation of the number of beds in a development. The tap fee covers the water and sewer for a building.

Mayor Paul Wiehl says the city should not be responsible for the disputed fee.

Wiehl says that as far as he knows, the tap fee has never been contested by a lawsuit. He says the charge used to be $100 per tap but that the system was changed in the mid 1990s. According to the mayor, the tap fees pay for a building buying into the city’s water system.

Mayor Paul Wiehl asks who is at fault if the developer isn't.


Mollica says renters ultimately shouldn’t be affected by the lawsuit. Palmer Place and the city are negotiating to determine where the fees came from. Cornwell has asked that the water be turned on while the two sides continue talks.

Palmer Place lawyer Gerald Mollica explains why renters shouldn't be worried about the lawsuit.

Moseley, Carr, and Athens City Law Director Pat Lang were unavailable for comment on this story.

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