Chesapeake residents forced out of apartment complex

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Several Chesapeake families who are being forced out of their homes, are getting a reprieve, at least for tonight.

The city of Chesapeake has deemed multiple buildings within the Sunnybrook Apartment complex on Chesapeake Drive as unsafe to live in. Residents told they love living there, and the rent is ideal for many of the low income households.

On Monday, the Department of Development and Permits taped yellow signs to the front of four buildings within the complex. The sign said residents must be out of their units by Thursday.

WAVY/Liz Palka
WAVY/Liz Palka

Several city workers spent hours at the complex on Monday. Director of Development and Permits, Jay Tate, said a sewage problem was discovered and has made the buildings uninhabitable.

George Eberwine owns Sunnybrook Apartments, and confirmed there is a sewage problem. He said he’s working on fixing it: “[The line] was just backing up, and they found somebody had put some paper towels in the sewer line.”

Tate said it’s difficult to say how serious the problem is because the line is underground. He said residents will still need to leave. He said sewage had come up through the ground and into the parking lot. In at least one case, Tate said it backed up into an apartment. Residents said they had seen the sewage come through a bathtub, but Eberwine didn’t agree with those accounts.

“There was no back up of sewage in any unit in the complex,” he told WAVY News’ Liz Palka Tuesday.

Eberwine maintains the complex is safe for people to live in, and he is doing what he can to make sure residents don’t have to leave.

“The city wanted us to have a plumbing company run a camera through the line to be sure there were no stoppages in the line,” Eberwine explained.

As of Thursday afternoon, the city said nothing had changed and that all residents will need to be out by Friday afternoon.

It’s not clear how many people will be displaced due to the problem. However, there are four units in each of the four buildings. Many children live at the complex as well.

Tate said the city is working with resident’s to find them other places to stay while the work is being done. He also said the city is working with Eberwine to get the permits needed for the work quickly.

Tate said residents who need help but have not, for some reason, heard from the city can call (757) 382-6238.

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