April 24, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
51°F
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Occupants of campground in North Ridgeville told to clear out

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — When Michael Frost emerged from his small white trailer into the sunny, chilly air Monday afternoon, he said he’d been on the phone.

“I’ve been trying to get a loan to have the money for an apartment, but it’s not as easy as it used to be,” Frost, 53, said.

“This is really a sad situation,” Frost said. “I don’t know what these people are going to do.”

“We have nowhere to go,” added his daughter, Shelby, 13, an eighth-grader at North Ridgeville Middle School.

The over-the-road truck driver has been living at Crystal Springs Campground on Bagley Road with his two daughters and granddaughter for about two years.

Now they, along with the dozens of other tenants of the campground, have been told they have to get out by midnight Friday under terms of a letter dated Monday from Redwood Management, a Beachwood company that owns the campground property and plans to expand an adjacent luxury apartment complex onto the site.

The letter said any tenant who was still in the campground after Friday’s deadline would be considered to be trespassing.

Calls for comment to Jeff Ondo, vice president of operations for Redwood Management, were referred to Cleveland attorney Michael Linn, who represents the company.

Linn was not reached for comment.

Calls to an on-site office at the campground were not returned.

Frost said tenants originally believed they would have six months’ notice before having to move out.

“The landlord kept telling us not to worry and to just keep paying rent,” Frost said. “They said we would have time to find somewhere to move to.”

“If we had known about this for a while, we could have been looking for some place to live,” Frost said.

Frost said a manager, whose full name he didn’t know, hadn’t been around much lately.

Mayor David Gillock confirmed the pending expansion of Ridgecrest Luxury Apartments, a development on the east side of a pond that separates the apartments from the campground.

City Council approved a planning commission recommendation for the 105-unit expansion on Nov. 19.

Redwood Management recently purchased the campground from Buckeye Bank, which had acquired it in a receivership case, according to the mayor.

Some people who live in the campground work on area construction projects and only lived there part time, according to Frost.

A number of lots where mobile homes or trailers had been parked were already vacant.

“We had five tenants who packed up and left as soon as they got the notice,” Michael Frost said. “They were so mad.”

The one-page letter from Redwood Management was left on car or truck windows or stuck in doors, Frost said.

A woman who owns a self-contained camper and identified herself only as Mary Anne said she had been planning to move out before the notice came.

The woman, who is a teacher at an area private school, that was sold, said she lived there a couple of years, had been treated well and “always felt safe.”

“Still, a five-day notice (to vacate) is unfair,” she said.

The city has had a law on its books for years to limit occupancy at the campground to May through October, but it has never been enforced, Gillock said.

“It’s not supposed to be a year-round operation, but we’ve never hassled anyone about it.”

Asked about the letter to tenants from Redwood Management, Gillock said. “Redwood bought it and they have the right to do with the property as they will. We’re not involved with that.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.