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THOUSAND OAKS : Traffic Noise Prompts Condo Improvements

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Developers of an affordable housing complex constructed near the Ventura Freeway have been ordered by the City Council to upgrade the condominiums to comply with state and local noise requirements.

But at least one of the residents of the Groves complex said there are far worse problems with the homes that remain unaddressed.

Chris Buckett has battled the Amcal Diversified Corp. and city building officials for nearly a year, complaining about shoddy workmanship in her two-bedroom dwelling and others in the 91-unit complex.

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She said nails protrude from some of her floors and walls, electrical outlets are not properly installed and that gaps between the garage and her living room allow noxious fumes into her condominium.

Buckett blames city officials for failing to enforce its own building codes.

“They’re trying to make [the complaints] petty and insignificant,” she said. “But these are major deviations from the city’s codes.”

Building Director Barry Branagan said such disputes are typically settled between the homeowner and the builder, who has promised to make the repairs and improvements.

After nearly a year of wrangling with the workmanship issues, a majority of council members decided enough was enough. Mayor Jaime Zukowski requested that Buckett be given a chance to address the council, but she was outvoted 3 to 2.

“We’re way past the boundary of what the council should be dealing with,” Councilman Andrew Fox said. “We’re talking about the size of chipboard. It’s time we move on.”

The council nonetheless ordered Amcal officials to make improvements to the third-floor units so that noise levels from freeway traffic meet local and state standards.

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