PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) — After a fire in January displaced 65 people, tenants at the Pines of Perinton are still addressing living conditions they say are sub-par and unfixed. Further, the town has issued appearance tickets for multiple code violations — including rodents, water leaks, and various damages.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the state condemned this place tomorrow,” said President of the Tenant’s Association, Tim Seegler. He says above all at the Pines of Perinton, they have a water crisis. It started when one of the main water heaters exploded. 

“I found five boiled mice that came out of the water heater,” he said. Seegler issued a bulletin telling residents to stop drinking the water immediately. 

“Neither the town — the Pines, or (WinnCompanies) have supplied any water for us. This is a humanitarian crisis.” Wegmans has donated multiple pallets of water to residents, but the supply is dwindling.

Elizabeth Morreall says mice are everywhere. She saw the rodents when they were pulled out of the water tank. “Ugh! I still have nightmares about it, and we’re drinking that water — who knows how long?” she said.

Penny Morse moved away from here, the conditions so bad. The mice in the water heater do not surprise her. “I always thought the water in here tasted a little off,” she says.

Photo by Tim Seegler

Seegler said the owner of the complex, WinnCompanies, told him the water was tested and is suitable to drink.

“On Friday, July 30, 2022, we had to replace a hot water tank on Evergreen Circle. Many of you were concerned with the water been contaminated. The Monroe County Public Health Department came out to test the water. We received the sampling results that indicated at the time of sampling, all parameters analyzed were found to be Satisfactory. Should you have any questions regarding the water sampling, you can contact the Department of Public Health at (585) 753-5057 or our rental office at (585) 388-0010. Thank you Pines of Perinton Management.”

Raquel Diaz

Seegler says he’s not buying it. “But we are not drinking it!” he said.

Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna says Perinton has issued six appearance tickets to the property owners for 26 code violations, including rodent infestation, water leaks, and drywall damage. The town gave eight comply-by orders on July 13th– with completion on July 29th.

So far, they say only 2 units have been addressed. Seegler says here there are too many problems to count and he feels no one is listening. 

“We have black mold, asbestos, and besides electric and other issues, now we have the water crisis,” he says.

The town says a court appearance for the owners of the property regarding the code violations is scheduled for August 16th– unless they take care of the problems before then.

News 8 did reach out to WinnCompanies for a statement but has yet to hear back.

Response from community

As residents at the Pines of Perinton ask for help, tenant activists — such as Seegler — said that the residents are in dire need of supplies.

Seegler said that this is a humanitarian crisis and the Perinton community needs to urgently give their support to these residents.

“Wegmans was gracious enough to donate four pallets of water, which I personally picked up in my own vehicle,” Seegler said. “I am a disabled adult myself and I had to physically load and unload my vehicle thirty times back and forth to Wegmans and Penfield.”

For more information on ways to help, call Seegler at (585)-430-8726.

Full statement from the Pines of Perinton

A spokesperson from the Pines of Perinton put out a statement on Monday in response to the situation:

“The recent news story regarding water service and water quality at the Pines of Perinton is malicious libel. Plain and simple. Claims that the water at the Pines is unsafe to drink are completely false. On the morning of July 29, a water heater serving 20 households developed a leak. Our contractor responded immediately and a new tank in service by 4 pm the same day. A second water heater, serving 12 households, failed late in the day on August 3 and was replaced the next morning. There has been no interruption to water service since then.”

“Claims of mice being inside the water tank are a lie. In fact, it is impossible for pests to get inside the sealed tanks that hold water in the type of system used at the Pines. There was zero evidence of infestation found by contractor who performed the water tank replacements or by the superintendent who oversaw the work. To calm resident anxiety about this falsehood, we asked Monroe County Water Authority to test the water throughout the community. Those test results prove that the water quality at the Pines of Perinton is satisfactory and meets the County’s health standards. We have informed residents of this finding and have provided the water quality report as evidence. It is unfortunate and frustrating that these baseless allegations have created fear and concern among residents of the Pines. We have been and continue to be highly responsive to their needs and have worked hard to address maintenance issues at this 50-year-old property. In fact, our maintenance team and contractors have completed 4,100 work orders in the 508 apartments at the Pines of Perinton so far this year, providing further evidence of our commitment to resident needs. Recent reports regarding alleged code violations in six of those 508 apartments have been exaggerated and incomplete. We have tried to address the maintenance issues in these units multiple times in the last three weeks, but the residents have not cooperated with our maintenance teams or repair vendors. In some cases, our teams and vendors have been met with hostile and abusive language, threats of harm and inappropriate conduct. In others, contractors have been repeatedly denied access to apartments on the scheduled day of work. These challenges have made it impossible for us to make timely and effective repairs.”

“It is important to note that in all six of these apartments, the inspections citation do not involve life-safety issues. The issues we have been trying to address are for routine but needed repairs to cabinet doors, window frames, bathtub caulking, loose toilets, faucet leaks and the like. We are committed to making these repairs as soon as possible and hope the residents of these apartments cooperate with our efforts. Our daily mission is operate the Pines of Perinton with the kindness and experience that promote a strong, positive quality of life for all residents, and we are grateful for the great partnerships we have forged with the many local non-profit groups who deliver important social services to the residents every day. Despite recent challenges, the Pines of Perinton has a bright future ahead starting in early 2023 when, working with the Town, the County and the State of New York, we plan to begin a top-to-bottom, $50 million renovation that will bring every aspect of this important apartment community into the 21st century.”

Full Press Release From Town of Perinton

Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna today disclosed that the Town of Perinton Building & Codes Department issued the Pines of Perinton six (6) appearance tickets for 26 code violations in six (6) apartments. This is the culmination of a months-long effort by the Town to address these issues with the property owner. Listed among the violations are water leaks, drywall damage, kitchen and bathroom repairs, window repairs, and rodent infestation. Hannah gave the following statement:

“Code enforcement is a serious matter and one that we do not take lightly in the Town of Perinton. The Town will continue to do our part to hold the Pines of Perinton accountable for providing safe and healthy living conditions for their almost 1,200 residents. Our Perinton Building & Codes officials have made every attempt to work with the Pines management and maintenance staff to see repairs made. We are very disappointed that only two of the eight current violations were addressed. The Town shares in the frustration of the residents, and we will take all necessary steps to ensure these health and safety issues are addressed.” 

The Town issued the Pines of Perinton eight (8) compliance orders on July 13, 2022, with comply-by dates of July 29, 2022. After speaking with all involved tenants, only two (2) units had been addressed by the deadline. The Pines did not correct the remaining violations during the compliance period, nor did their management reach out to Building & Codes officials to discuss a path forward. Appearance tickets were issued to the Pines of Perinton on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. 

The Pines of Perinton court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at 3 p.m. unless the violations are successfully remediated before that date. 

Perinton Building & Codes actively performs inspections and follow-ups on all complaints filed with the office. Any violations of the codes, rules, regulations, ordinances or local laws of the Town of Perinton and New York State Property Maintenance Code are investigated. All complaints with confirmed violations result in the Town addressing the property owners to ensure they comply with local regulations. When voluntary compliance is not achievable, Town code enforcement will, by law, use due process to achieve compliance. 

The Town is releasing this information due to expressed community concern and public interest.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.