July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Campground owners willing to talk

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — An attorney for the firm that owns the Crystal Springs Campground said Thursday a possible solution could be coming for tenants who were informed this week they had five days to vacate the site.

The families who live there were supposed to move out by today.

An attorney working with one of the tenants contacted Redwood Management, and if that attorney can get all the tenants on board, an extension could be offered, said Michael D. Linn, an attorney with Powers Friedman Linn, which represents Redwood Management, the Beachwood company that recently acquired the campground property with plans to expand an adjacent apartment complex.

“We’re willing to come to the table to talk about that,” Linn said.

Tenants were given five days to vacate the campgrounds via a letter dated Monday that was delivered to the campground earlier this week. Some tenants said they didn’t get the letter until Tuesday and were angry and shaken at prospects of being forced to leave in such a short period.

Redwood Management has received approval by City Council and the Planning Commission for a 105-unit expansion of its Ridgecrest Luxury Apartments, a development on the east side of a pond that separates the apartments from the campground.

The management company made numerous requests over several months to Buckeye Bank, which sold the campground after acquiring it in a receivership case, to notify tenants of the pending sale to Redwood but had no knowledge whether the bank ever followed through, Linn said.

Buckeye Bank officials were not reached for comment.

Linn said Redwood Management later learned that none of the occupants had a valid campsite user agreement, lease or document giving them rights to remain on the property.

“From our standpoint, if no one can show they have a right to be there, the law may look on them as trespassers,” Linn said. “We’ve given them five days more than anyone trespassing would receive.”

Tenants said they continued to pay monthly rent payments to an onsite manager, but Linn said Redwood never received documentation that determined rent was paid by tenants to either Redwood or Buckeye Bank.

“We take the position that no one was authorized to collect rent on our behalf,” Linn said.

North Ridgeville Assistant Law Director Toni Morgan said the city cannot intervene because campgrounds are regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, not municipalities.

“We don’t have jurisdiction, and that essentially ties our hands,” she said.

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