Dear Heart Beat Editor:

Our son graduated this past weekend from Mizzou and we were in Columbia for graduation weekend.  

As parents of students who were living in Brookside Apartments on College (and Walnut Streets), we have been wondering all year what we were paying for.   We know the fire put them behind schedule last year, but NONE of the promised amenities we were supposedly paying for ever materialized.  

Is ANYONE aware of what is going on there?   Who got paid off to build these monstrosities?  Seriously:  Who approved these things, and has anyone really seen how they are built?   Is there NO building code in Columbia?  

I -- and other parents -- are finally fed up.

Walk in the building on College and Walnut and look at floors that can make you seasick from waves!   And handicapped accessible?   Forget it.  There are 2 flights of stairs up to the 3rd floor on one side of the building,  three on the other, but no elevator in the garage or buildings.  

Visitors are limited; the kid with the broken ankle and the 4th floor apartment EXTREMELY disadvantaged!    It makes moving in and out, at the least, impossible!

And why is the garage in the backyard so that the terraces now face walls?   No zoning? 

I hope they are sturdy enough so that no one gets hurt!
Ruth and Keith Fabes
New York

[Ed. Note:   The owners of the Brookside Apartments -- Jon, Nathan, and Bruce Odle -- traditionally do not respond to requests for comment.  This letter was passed along to the Columbia City Council and their attorney, Craig van Matre.]
[Update:   Readers say these units are built to code, but that "loopholes" in the code -- e.g. trading fire suppression sprinklers for windows -- permit certain variances.   Zoning codes are currently under debate for such variances (C2 zoning, under which these apartments were built, provides wide latitude in building size and configuration.)]