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Friday, April 09, 2010

Saint Paul/ 223 Bates

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Anonymous City of Saint Paul said...

Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor
February 17, 2010

**** **nd ST W
MINNEAPOLIS 55408-3558

Fire Inspection Division
Robert Kessler, Director
375 Jackson Street, Suite 220 Telephone: 651-266-8989
Saint Paul, MN 55101-1806 Fax: 651-266-8951

Ref. # 16184

Dear Property Representative: -
An inspection was made of your building on February 17, 2010 in response to a referral. You are hereby notified that the following deficiency list must be corrected immediately. A re-inspection will be made on or
after March 19, 2010.

Failure to comply may result in a criminal citation or revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy. The Saint Paul

Legislative Code requires that no building shall be occupied without a Certificate of Occupancy. The code also
provides for the assessment of additional re-inspection fees.

1. THIRD FLOOR - MSFC 1019.2 - Provide an approved additional means of egress due to an inadequate
number of exits.-Provide another means of egress.

For an explanation or information on some of the violations contained in this report, please visit our web page

You have the right to appeal these orders to the Legislative Hearing Officer. Applications for appeals may be obtained at the Office of the City Clerk, 310 City Hall, City/County Courthouse, 15 W Kellogg Blvd,
Saint Paul MN 55102. Phone: (651-266-8688) and must be filed within 10 days of the date of the original

If you have any questions, email or call me at 651-266-8949
between 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Please help to make Saint Paul a safer place in which to live and work.

Kris Skow-Fiske
Fire Inspector

11:09 AM  
Anonymous City of Saint Paul continued said...

3. Appeal of Peggy Dunnette to a Certificate of Occupancy Deficiency List for property at 223
Bates Avenue.
Appellant Peggy Dunnette (1200 W. 32nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408) and Marc Bowen
Ms. Moermond stated that she had gotten some background from HPC staff earlier in the day.
Mr. Urmann stated that the occupied third floor was short a required exit and it appeared that an exit
ladder had been removed. He said a permanently affixed ladder would have met code had it
remained intact. He stated that the HPC application was denied as incomplete.
Ms. Dunnettte stated that her ex -husband had removed the ladder. She provided photographs of the
house and pointed out where the ladder had been. She said her ex-husband had left the country and
abandoned house, she had assumed ownership, and was working to make improvements.
Mr. Urmann said that a ladder mechanism was no longer code-compliant and what would be
required was a full walkout stairs with the correct run and rise.
Ms. Moermond asked Mr. Dunnette whether she still had the ladder. Ms. Dunnette said she did not.
Ms. Moermond asked Ms. Dunnette whether she had spoken to an architect about the possibility of
adding stairs. Ms. Dunnette said she had and that adding stairs would cost over $10,000. Ms.
Moermond asked how much it would cost to re-install a ladder. Ms. Dunnette said she wasn't sure.
She said the third level had been occupied and the egress situation had been that way for many
years. Adding a stairway would be not only expensive, but "hideous."
Ms. Moermond asked what the third floor was being used for. Ms. Dunnette said it was currently
empty but was a beautiful unit. Mr. Bowen said it was a rental unit for decades. He said Ms.
Dunnette had invested thousands of dollars in the property and had developed a good relationship
with the tenants and the city, but the property had a negative cash flow when the third floor was not
Ms. Moermond said she would review the code before making her decision.
On March 3,2010, Ms. Moermond reviewed the appeal and recommended denying the appeal and
granting an extension for 90 days to come into compliance. Ms. Dunnette requested a City Council
Public Hearing which was scheduled for March 17,2010 at 5:30 p.m

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Peggy Dunnette said...

Peggy Dunnette
**** W. **nd St.
Mpls., MN 55408
February 18,2010

Re: 223 Bates Avenue
St Paul, MN 55106

Dear City Clerk,

I am appealing the decision which says I must construct a full-blown fire exit and stairwell for my historic building at 223 Bates Avenue.

This lovely red brick and carved stone structure was built in 1884 and has been home to
hundreds since its construction.

My ex-husband unwisely removed the pre-existing fire
escape ladder not long ago, causing the upper unit serviced by this ladder to lose its
Certificate of Occupancy. This ladder permitted access to a fire escape stairway which is
still in fine working order today.
The building now being transferred in my name, I have sought to redress the Complaint
regarding the exit and egress.

This building, however, has its place on the Register of
Historic Places and is rightfully protected from such modifications. I have been unable to
proceed with any construction due to the objections made by the Historical Society.

I am therefore respectfully requesting a variance to allow the building to function once
again, as it had for the previous 116 years.


Peggy Dunnette

Encl.: Correction Notice and Complaint;
Photo showing part of the upper unit and the existing fire escape way

11:12 AM  
Anonymous council hearing said...

Video of City council hearing linked above. Scroll down to item 34.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Link here said...

Link to council hearing above. Scroll down to item 74

11:14 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

A full staircase to a window, come on! That would look like crap!

A ladder from the 3rd floor window to the deck below is more than enough.You could jump from that window to the deck below and probably not get hurt.

To take this ladder concept one step further. I use to maintain and paint water towers. I have maintained Stillwater prisons water tower, Lino O'Lakes Correctional facility and many many municipal water towers. The ladder on a water tower has a enclosed cage, you fall you don't go very far. If, falling off a ladder is such a big concern of the city why not allow a ladder with a cage?

Maybe we should build a stair case all the way to the top of all of our water towers in Minnesota. It's as silly as building a staircase on this house.

I have never in all the years I have lived in Saint Paul seen a staircase to a WINDOW.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone, Saint Paul Minnesota.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are not worried about anyones safety Bob. They are out to destroy rental housing and have it taken over by their non profit buddies and government agancies. Their agenda has nothing to do with fixing and repairing houses.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tenants (children) would use a staircase to come and go through the window.
stooping in and out of the window to a staircase. icy winter steps.
this would be a safety hazard!

get the dead weight out of city hall

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK - here is the deal on these.

The ladder is gone. The council is informed the ladder is gone. If the council approves putting up a new ladder and someone dies in a fire in that unit the City pays a minimum of 2 million dollars.

How many of those do you want the City to OK.

Because that is the bottem line. The city was stuck.


Chuck Repke

12:53 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Chuck claims, the city pays 2 million if you are burned to death under the circumstances of this topic.

But if you are run over and killed by a city ambulance your life isn't worth more than $175,000.

I'm not buying it Chuck. The outcome of this issue is as corny as the people who orchestrated it. We need someone with common sense to over see these peoples actions in city hall.

"Staircase to a window"! It would be funny if it wasn't so damaging to a property owner. Especially a property owner who looks out for their tenants.

This story reminds me of the WINDCHESTER Mansion.

The Windchester house had staircases that lead to no where. Doors that had no rooms.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Windchester house had staircases that lead to no where. Doors that had no rooms."

And a bunch of talking heads on the council with no brains!

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob I am not a lawyer but I understand liability enough to know that if the City approves a ladder as an exit knowing that the State fire code says they can't that from that day on the City is as liable as the homeowner for whatever happens in that unit in a fire.

It makes perfect sense Bob they approve it, they sanction what they know is not up to code, they are liable for it.

Someone standing behind a ambulance on duty has some liability themselves. There was a chance the City would win in court, there was a chance the City could lose. The City settled to avoid a court case that even if they won they would have looked pretty heartless.


Chuck Repke

11:54 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Anyone in the know, knows the city breaks it's own rules when they want to. This is one example of many.LINK HERE

What are the odds of 223 Bates having a fire and a tenant having to use that 3rd floor window to escape. VERY SLIM! And if there was a ladder there it would get used with no problem.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Here is one more example of the city bending the rules for a code enforcement officers property.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Bob, no they aren't examples of the same thing at all and you know it.

What would have been nice in this situation is if the owner would have been able to show where the ladder was out being "cleaned" that it had never been officially removed and was back in place before the City Council ever saw the case...

Then, maybe the council could have agreed that the status of the building had never changed.

But that wasn't what was being asked of the council, they were being asked to knowingly and willfully allow someone to violate the state fire code.

They can't do that.


Chuck Repke

8:31 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Chuck, the links I provided are good examples of the city council making exceptions to it's own rules. I'm sure anyone who has read the links will come to the same conclusion.

10:45 AM  

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