Debate continues over residents' safety to return to Sustainable Fellwood III

Debate continues over residents' safety to return to Sustainable Fellwood III

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The back and forth between the property management group in charge of the Sustainable Fellwood III apartment and the alderman in charge of the district continues.

Alderman Van Johnson says in an email forwarded to WTOC and the Woda Group that the senior citizens inside Sustainable Fellwood feel they are being forced back into the building, even with the cleanup effort still underway.

The property management company says only a few of the units damaged when a pipe ruptured still require more time to repair. Woda says it should not be responsible for covering the cost of hotel rooms for those who live in units that have been cleared by the fire marshal.

"As long as they call and as long as they're not satisfied, I'm going to make sure I keep sounding the alarm. Our citizens deserve the promise that we gave them with Sustainable Fellwood Three, and that was they were going to have a safe, supportive environment in which to live. That's all they want. That's all any of us want," said Alderman Johnson.

The Woda Group says anyone who has an apartment cleared by the fire marshal will be checked out of their hotel rooms on Thursday.

Alderman Johnson sent this statement via email to WTOC and the Woda Group:


I am again being contacted by frantic residents of Sustainable Fellwood Phase III, who are reporting to me that they have been told by Woda that they will have to return back to the property immediately.

As stated before, this site is clearly an active construction zone, with dust and debris in the immediate area.  In addition, some of these residents have respiratory issues that make returning to such an environment detrimental to their health.

These residents have also reported that they attempted to go to the Sustainable Fellwood Phase III offices today, but they were closed.

In addition, the Savannah Fire Marshal, after conducting an investigation, has determined that there was no evidence than an external object caused the rupture to the suppression pipe.  I am unsure why it Woda to continues to circulate information that they know and has been proven to be untrue.

It continues to be my expectation that these residents not return to Sustainable Fellwood Phase III until the property is completely ready for safe habitation.

In response to Alderman Johnson's statement, Vice President Jodelle Carder, of the Woda Group, replied:

Mr. Johnson:

We are currently housing residents at the Holiday Inn and Suites who technically could have returned to their apartments Saturday. The building has been released for occupancy by the Savannah Fire Department and Savannah Building Officials. This is not a dangerous construction zone and these residents are taking up time and precious resources we need for the 48 residents who cannot return to the building. We are not requiring anyone to return to the building but will check out of the hotel tomorrow anyone who has an apartment that was cleared for occupancy on Saturday.  

As I told you yesterday in my update, a bullet slug was found in a wall in unit 1330. More investigation indicated that a bullet hit the mattress and box spring in that unit. The police took pictures of two suspected bullet holes at the top of the 4th floor that could possibly be where the bullet entered the attic space. There are other bullet holes on the exterior of the building in that area. I am awaiting a police report with specific information. A bullet hole was also found in our rental office in phase II that went through a couple of walls. In conversations with our staff, the police apologized as they filed a police report on Thursday night and should have followed up with us on Friday.  We gave the police the piece of sprinkler line containing the suspected bullet hole. The police officers told us that they would give this additional information to the fire department.  I have attached pictures of the sprinkler line and attic area.

VP Carder sent a second reply to Alderman Johnson's statement:

 After sending the last email, one of my staff members who was assisting a resident pack to move to the extended stay hotel sent the attached pictures. The pictures were taken in the unit across the hall from where the sprinkler line was struck. The bullet entered the unit at the balcony, went through the front of the kitchen counter wall, through the back of the dishwasher, exited the front of the dishwasher and lodged in the counter. This is frightening as someone standing in the kitchen would have been struck. We feel very fortunate that none of our residents were harmed in this shooting incident.  

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