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LR wants apartment complex shut down

Too much crime and now it's time for a Little Rock apartment complex to shut down. The city of Little Rock argues the owner of the Valley Heights isn't doing enough to stop crime at the complex.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Too much crime and now it's time for a Little Rock apartment complex to shut down. The city of Little Rock argues the owner of the Valley Heights isn't doing enough to stop crime at the complex.

The city says Valley Heights Apartments has hit a new low.

According to a nine page complaint, the complex has been used for facilitating burglaries and property thefts.

FOX16 pulled LRPD records and found 429 incident calls to 6900 Cantrell where Valley Heights is located in the last 17 months. It comes out to an average of 25.2 per month, nearly 1 call a day.

"I've heard of some things around here, cars being broken into, people knocking their windows out, stuff like that,” one woman at the complex says.

"Now that I'm real fearful of,” Anita Lunon added. “I'm thankful my niece lives right across from me and we look out for each other but I've heard about quite a few break-ins."

The complaint even says some empty apartments are or were used to store stolen items.

Among the allegations in this complaint the city says whatever lawlessness is happening at this complex, it affects more than just the people who live here, but the entire neighborhood surrounding.

Lunon says she's prepared for whatever the city might do.

"Whatever has to be done, has to be done,” she says. “If it's not safe for us, because this is a community for everybody, if it’s not a safe place, then do what they have to do."

Even if it means being uprooted from her home.

City manager Bruce Moore says the city is now waiting on a court date in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

"After extensive attempts to work with property owners, we decided legal action was the best avenue to take in regards to safety for the entire neighborhood," Moore says.

According to police records, the most recent reported burglary at valley heights happened 6 days ago.

The complex website lists 198 units on the property.

Henry Management, Inc, (the company that manages Valley Heights Apartments) responded to the complaint saying the city’s claims are without merit and will be vigorously defended.

Valley Heights responds to complaint

This morning, the City of Little Rock filed a lawsuit seeking to declare Valley Heights Apartments (6900 Cantrell Road) a nuisance, and to have the property “closed, boarded, secured, and razed”. Valley Heights Apartments exclusively provides affordable housing. Residents must complete a thorough certification process including a criminal background check in order to qualify. Only upon being contacted by the press for comment did Henry Management, Inc., the Little Rock-based family-owned company that manages Valley Heights Apartments, learn not only that there was an alleged issue with the property, but that the City had taken the extreme measure of filing a lawsuit seeking to close the property and displace the residents of the 198-unit apartment complex.

D. Deming Henry, President and C.E.O. of Henry Management, Inc., reports that the company has gone to great lengths to address all neighborhood and city concerns about the property, and will continue to do so. Further, management has cooperated with the recommendations of a security survey issued by the Little Rock Police Department in June of 2011. Henry has cooperated openly with the city in the past, regularly attends neighborhood association meetings to address problems personally, and has even provided his personal cell phone number to the Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office, the Kingwood Neighborhood Association, and alderperson Stacy Hurst. Henry states that management has responded positively to any issue brought to its attention in the past, and that they intend to continue to field all future complaints and act accordingly.

However, Henry points out that management cannot address problems of which they are unaware. Residents of Valley Heights Apartments agree to adhere to the rules outlined in a Guide to Resident Living provided to them upon move-in. Henry reports that the commission of the crimes referred to in the City’s lawsuit would have resulted in the immediate eviction of any residents involved. However, Henry and apartment management received no notification of any of the alleged activity. Henry also received no notice of the lawsuit from the City Attorney’s office, with which Henry has shared open communication as recently as May 1 of this year with no mention of any current issues. Henry believes that the City Attorney was pressured into initiating this action in response to an isolated incident and without proper notice.

Henry states that Valley Heights Apartments are a well-run affordable housing project and that he will vigorously defend against the City’s claim, which has no merit. Henry reiterates his willingness to work with the City and the neighborhood at-large to resolve the issue, but reminds that he is unable to do so without communication from the City and the neighborhood association. Ultimately, though, Henry looks forward to his day in court.
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