Developer accused of violating fair housing law

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Construction continues on Gardens on Gateway Senior Apartments located at 7357 N. Gateway Crossing Blvd. in McCordsville.

Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

McCORDSVILLE — A senior apartments development underway in McCordsville violates laws ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana has joined other housing advocacy groups across the country in the complaint against entities affiliated with Clover Group, based in Williamsville, New York, in a U.S. district court in New York.

The complaint accuses 38 of Clover Group’s multi-family rental housing complexes in Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania of not complying with the federal Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements. Three of those properties are in Indiana, one of which is Gardens on Gateway Senior Apartments located at 7357 N. Gateway Crossing Blvd. in McCordsville. Construction continues on the three-story, 119-unit property that’s slated to open in winter 2022/2023, according to Clover Group’s website. The property’s one- and two-bedroom units will be restricted to residents age 55 and older, with monthly rents for one-bedroom units starting at $1,135.

The housing advocacy groups have found widespread and flagrant violations of the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements” at the 38 properties, according to the complaint.

“The exterior areas of the complexes have inaccessible parking spaces, mailboxes, and routes to units and public and common use areas,” the complaint states. “The apartments have inaccessible routes into and out of the units, bathrooms with inaccessible features, and other inaccessible features.”

Along with violating the law, the claimed violations “pose safety hazards to people with disabilities, signal that people with disabilities are not welcome, and limit housing opportunities for people with disabilities,” the complaint continues.

The complaint states that many public and common use areas at the Clover Group properties have routes lacking accessible curb cuts, can be blocked by parked cars and have access points that discharge people in wheelchairs into traffic. It also states that units have inaccessible bathrooms and patios for people using wheelchairs.

The groups behind the lawsuit investigated the listed properties, including by visiting them and reviewing building plans, according to the complaint.

The complaint does not mention specific violations at Gardens on Gateway. Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, said the organization isn’t commenting beyond what’s in the complaint.

Clover Group did not return a request for comment.

The complaint asks the court to find the defendants in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act and direct them to remedy the claimed violations.

Ryan Crum, McCordsville assistant town manager – planning and development, said town government is aware of the lawsuit and will be monitoring and inspecting for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act throughout the inspection process for Gardens on Gateway.

“The project is currently at the rough-in stage and is currently on-schedule to be finished late this year or early next,” Crum said in an email. “All final inspections will include review for accessibility compliance.”

According to court records, an initial telephone conference has been scheduled in the case for June 16.

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