Arbor Cottage tenants say they don't want to move - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Arbor Cottage tenants claim housing officials pushing them to move

Posted: Updated:
Arbor Cottages owner Steve Varnedoe before Judge Williams Arbor Cottages owner Steve Varnedoe before Judge Williams

Time may be ticking for tenants of an Ogeechee Road housing community. The owner of Arbor Cottage rentals says he is working to meet a judge's orders by next Monday. 

However, the city may not be waiting until next Monday. Tenants at Arbor Cottages claim city employees have been visiting daily warning them to leave now. Some tenants have already left, others say they aren't going anywhere.

"I am very happy. I will stay here until the last second," Audrey Huddelston told WTOC.

Huddleston and her husband have lived at Arbor Cottages eight years, through the bad times, and now, what they call the good times. She said they've had no crime, no prostitutes and no drugs.

"Most you will find here is a cigarette. I'm not talking marijuana. I mean a cigarette," she said.

She said that even after Arbor Cottages owner Steve Varnedoe cleaned up the house community after buying it five years ago, he's still been taken to court by the city in the last month and is in serious danger of losing his business. Plus, his tenants could be looking for a new place to live.

Huddleston said a city housing official has been by daily telling them they need to leave.

"I personally think she has been rude and pushy, not to be mean," Huddletson said. "She is insisting I have to move. I'm 66 years old. I'm college educated. I'm of sound mind. There is nothing wrong with my husband. 'We have to move; we have to move,' she says. Well, we are happy here and Mr. Varnedoe is a very good landlord."

"The city, I guess, has to be the prosecution, I guess, but Judge Williams sees through the whole thing," Varnedoe said.

A recent copper bust at the cottages did not reflect well, but Varnedoe said he evicted the tenants responsible for the crime, who had only moved in a few weeks earlier. The main concern is the electrical issues.

WTOC has been told by people in the city that a lot of the dry wall will have to come down to check all of the wiring, which is costly. Varnedoe said he has been working with an electrician, but doesn't think he'll get it all done by Monday's deadline.

"The electrician will be back at 8 a.m. Hopefully, we will have it straight as much as we can," he said.

"I'm an American. I have rights. I will not leave here until I positively, absolutely have to," Huddleston said.
City employees told WTOC that the city housing official is working with residents in case they get evicted.

Varnedoe will be back before the judge next Monday to show the progress he has made and to see if it will be enough for her to grant him more time, or if the city will be allowed to shut the cottages down and move forward with condemning the property and the eviction process. 

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.
Powered by WorldNow