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City threatens prosecution for dropping items off highrise

Apartment owner hopes will stop danger from tenants
Posted at 7:27 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 22:27:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The City of Tucson is cracking down on a student apartment tower where some residents have been dropping dangerous items off the balconies and roof. The building owners say they will work with the city to stop the dangerous acts.

KGUN9 has done many stories over the years about students who live in the Sol Y Luna apartments dropping objects like glass bottles off their balconies. They land on the grounds of the Islamic Center with enough force to possibly kill someone. Now the new owners of that building and the City of Tucson are trying some new tactics to stop that.

It’s easy to see the danger.

We have been showing video like this for at least six years—-bottles and other objects dropping off the Sol Y Luna apartments onto the Islamic Center. Through all those years, and more than one building owner, Tucson Councilmember Steve Kozachik has been trying to get it to stop.

Now the Tucson City Attorney has sent the building owners a letter to pass onto the tenants. It warns the city will file criminal charges against residents if objects fall from their balconies.

And the city does not need to determine precisely who dropped the item.

Tenants will be responsible for anything falling from the apartment they live in even if a guest did the dropping.

Kozachik says, “As I said to the owners, to their owners' lawyers we are not responsible for babysitting your property. And according to the terms of your own lease every occupant of a room is responsible for their behavior and the behavior of their guests. And so if your name’s on that lease and your guests throw a bottle off a balcony you’re on the hook for it.”

A new company, Nelson Partners, took over Sol Y Luna a year and three months ago. Company attorney Keith Woodwell says it’s committed to stopping the danger, and asked the city to issue the letter to help convince residents dropping objects off the building carries serious consequences.

The company says it temporarily shut down the apartment’s rooftop to call more attention to the city warning and to avoid rooftop parties during the University of Arizona’s run through the NCAA tournament. Kozachik, and Sol Y Luna’s management thought rooftop parties could increase the chance of people dropping things off the roof.

While Kozachik says surveillance video makes it easy to see which apartment an object came from, company attorney Keith Woodwell says it’s not a snap to track down the source of the falling items.

“So we're asking the police so we can cooperate and work with them to identify who's actually engaged in this activity," Kozachik said. "And if we're able to do that, then hopefully it'll be citations issued against them on the city side and also we can take action to find them or evict them.”

And he hopes it won’t take long for the word to spread among tenants and the dangerous dropping to stop.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.