Victory for Pleasant Ridge homeowners; hurdles still ahead

Updated: Dec. 4, 2017 at 10:42 PM EST
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CHARLESTOWN, IN (WAVE) - Melissa Crawford was still basking in the day's victory outside a packed city council meeting on Monday night.

"It's just the best Christmas ever," Crawford said. "I think I might decorate for Christmas now."

Crawford owns a home in the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood in Charlestown. Early Monday, a judge put a stop to the city slapping high housing code fines on homeowners in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

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The city began aggressively inspecting homes in 2016.

"Everybody around town knows the deal here," Josh Craven, president of the Pleasant Ridge Homeowners Association said.

The goal was to force homeowners to sell to a private developer, run by businessman John Neace.

Court documents released last August showed that Charlestown's mayor and Neace's company were working together.

"Pushing me to get out so they can board this up," Mary Ann Jordan said.

The judge's ruling doesn't help renters like Mary Ann Jordan.

"(I'm) hurt, crying, disgusted," Jordan said.

Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment, LLC, controlled by Neace, owns Jordan's property. They've given her until the end of the month to leave.

"I'm not really financially able to move out," Jordan said.

"I don't know what to do," Tina Barnes, the Councilwoman for District 2 told us.

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Barnes has tried to help people like Jordan, but there's nothing she can do.

However, she's still coming after Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment for the several rundown homes they own.

Neighbors want them knocked down, but the council doesn't support it.

"I can't even get the council to make a motion on it, let alone send a letter," Barnes said. "And he keeps on -- the mayor -- saying it'll be different in a year."

The next city council meeting with be in early January.

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