15 West Kellogg Blvd.  
Saint Paul, MN 55102  
City of Saint Paul  
Minutes - Final  
Legislative Hearings  
Marcia Moermond, Legislative Hearing Officer  
Mai Vang, Hearing Coordinator  
Joanna Zimny, Executive Assistant  
Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
9:00 AM  
Room 330 City Hall & Court House/Remote  
9:00 a.m. Hearings  
Remove/Repair Orders  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 1117  
JENKS AVENUE within fifteen (15) days after the April 19, 2023, City  
Council Public Hearing.  
Layover to LH August 13, 2024 at 9 am for further discussion after closing. PO to  
submit evidence of financing, affidavit dedicating funds, and bids.  
Eden Spencer, Greater Minnesota Housing Corporation, appeared via phone  
Spencer: we’ve fallen along behind due to some staff vacations, so instead of the bids  
coming in now, it just went out last week. We expected it July 9, right after the 4th and  
then we will select the contractor in order to secure financing.  
Moermond: is schedule for closing still July 19?  
Spencer: everything is pushed 2 weeks.  
Moermond: what are the chances of you guys getting the Performance Deposit posted  
before closing?  
Spencer: my understanding was the $5,000 was paid by the group Scott Fergus is  
representing and we’re reimbursing them at closing.  
Spencer: is it easier for us to submit payment of anew Performance Deposit and the  
funds paid prior be refunded?  
Moermond: if you pay a new one they can request it back from the City.  
Spencer: I’ll talk to Scott Fergus and we’ll coordinate back. We can do that.  
Moermond: Mr. Yannarelly, what’s the Department’s perspective?  
Yannarelly: we have no issues with the property at all. As far as the Performance  
Deposit, we have one extended along with the current property owner. As long as it is  
posted and its part of the deal, we don’t care.  
Moermond: then the closing document is fine, saying what you intend to do.  
Spencer: and that won’t be probably for another few weeks.  
Moermond: that brings us to August 2 for the closing.  
Spencer: I talked to the lender and our insurance and that’s the timeline we were  
thinking too.  
Moermond: what I will do is lay this over to August 13. If you can get the paperwork to  
us ahead of time we can greenlight it before the Council adopts it.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/13/2024  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 378  
SIMS AVENUE within fifteen (15) days after the December 20, 2023,  
City Council Public Hearing. (Amend to remove within 15 days)  
PO to submit revised scope of work, schedule, bids and affidavit by COB July 5,  
Bill Purtell, mortgage company, appeared via phone  
Voicemail for True Yang left at 9:22 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City  
Council calling you about 378 Sims. Received your email this morning, it lacked any  
indication on timing. What I want is July 5 and no later to have everything left on your  
to do list done. Revised work plans, bids, financing, affidavit, and they need to be  
approved so send it in earlier if you have questions on adequacy. July 10 Council  
Public Hearing so if the work isn’t accepted you probably want to plan on attending  
that hearing.  
Voicemail for Wesley Hart left at 9:25 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City  
Council calling you about 378 Sims. Received an email indicating you’re waiting for  
another bid before selecting your contractor. That’s fine but timing isn’t great .I’ll send  
this to Council July 10th. By July 5 I’d like to have approved work plan, bids, affidavit.  
This is approved, so get it in earlier than July 5th if you have questions about that.  
Moermond: any questions Mr. Purtell?  
Purtell: no, I’ll just wait for the email with new expectations on Friday.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/10/2024  
RLH RR 24-27  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 303  
CHARLES AVENUE within fifteen (15) days after the August 7, 2024,  
City Council Public Hearing.  
Remove within 15 days with no option to repair.  
No one appeared  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: the building is a one story, wood frame,  
single-family dwelling on a lot of 3,250 square feet. The property was found to be  
vacant, with multiple exterior code violations, by a vacant building inspector who  
opened files on October 2, 2022. The current property owner is Arnold L. and Ruth  
Brothen, (deceased) per Amanda and Ramsey County Property records.  
On April 17, 2024, an inspection of the building was conducted, a list of deficiencies  
which constitute a nuisance condition was developed and photographs were taken. An  
Order to Abate a Nuisance Building was posted on April 24, 2024, with a compliance  
date of May 24, 2024. As of this date, the property remains in a condition which  
comprises a nuisance as defined by the legislative code.  
Taxation has placed an estimated market value of $25,000 on the land and $74,500 on  
the building. Real estate taxes for 2022 and 2023 are delinquent in the amount of  
$3,174.20, which includes penalty and interest. Taxes for the first half of 2024 in the  
amount of $3,174.20 have not been paid. The property is scheduled for tax forfeiture  
July 31, 2024.  
The vacant building registration fees were paid by assessment on November 3, 2023.  
As of June 24, 2024, a Code Compliance Inspection has not been done. As of June  
24, 2024, the $5,000 performance deposit has not been posted. There have been  
seven Summary Abatement Notices since 2022. There have been seven work orders  
issued for: garbage/rubbish, boarding/securing, tall grass/weeds and snow/ice. Code  
Enforcement Officers estimate the cost to repair this structure exceeds $75,000. The  
estimated cost to demolish exceeds $30,000.  
Moermond: looking at the photos, it appears the property isn’t watertight?  
Yannarelly: it does not seem very secure from elements in any respect. Nor from  
outside people.  
Moermond: the notice appears to be 3 people who might be children of the deceased  
have been notified of today’s hearing. They signed for the notice on May 29 and May  
30th. We do have people being aware of this. One final note it is scheduled to forfeit  
July 31, that precedes the August 7 Council date. We’ll flag this for the County. Can  
Department of Safety & Inspections seek the bids and be ready to turn them over to  
the County.  
Yannarelly: sure.  
Moermond: we can let Mr. Hanson know that is the intention.  
Moermond: remove within 15 days with no option to repair.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/7/2024  
10:00 a.m. Hearings  
Making Finding on Nuisance Abatements  
RLH RR 24-25  
Making finding on the appealed substantial abatement ordered for 1971  
NORTONIA AVENUE in Council File RLH RR 23-57.  
The nuisance is abated and the matter resolved.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: it looks like the Code Compliance certificate was issued March 8?  
Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: yes.  
Moermond: nuisance is abated and the matter resolved.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/17/2024  
11:00 a.m. Hearings  
Summary & Vehicle Abatement Orders  
Appeal of Gonzalo R. Sanchez to a Summary Abatement Order at 1040  
Layover to LH July 9, 2024 to discuss findings and deadlines based on July 8, 2024  
inspection at 10 am.  
Gonzolo Sanchez, owner, appeared via phone  
Moermond: I’m following up on your appeal. What I was going to do was follow up with  
the building inspector about the fence and then we were looking for a plan from you  
about cleaning up the rest and pulling an electrical permit. I don’t have anything in  
writing from you, so wanting to know what is going on. What’s going on with the  
Sanchez: we have the permit to work on the fence in the back, we just got it a few  
days ago. We are cleaning because they wanted the yard cleaned up. Move the wood  
and things like that. I’m going to have an operation this Friday, but they moved it to  
Monday. I’m working slowly, but I’m making progress. I don’t know specifically you  
want me to do. It would have been nice if you could send me a list, so I can work  
orderly. Instead of working here, there, everywhere.  
Moermond: there’s a list in the orders you got already. The all-caps portion of the letter  
you received. That’s the list of things. I was just checking the building permit situation  
and we have three permits in play. A fence permit, an April permit for 10 windows, and  
then a couple of weeks ago you applied for siding, roof over bay window. It didn’t get  
approved. The lean-to wasn’t approved by zoning; they said no. The fence was too tall  
and you needed new plans with the joist direction. That seems to have been rejected.  
Then there’s question about the materials used for the fence.  
Sanchez: I can lower the fence to 7 feet, it is a bit higher than 7 feet. That way it  
meets code. The wood rots, that’s why I used the metal sheets. So it lasts longer. The  
ceiling was approved before because we had the truss faced correctly so the ceiling  
can be strong enough to hold the roof. If we did it in the opposite direction the snow  
would fall in front of the door. I asked Xcel energy to come and move the electrical wire  
towards the other end of the yard, they raised it up. They charged me over $600. It was  
a lot of money I paid them. Doing more work will cost me $3,000 to do the electrical  
work. I don’t have a lot of money.  
Moermond: as an owner you can apply for your own electrical permit. The building  
permit application provided they haven’t approved. The roof extension they want more  
information and they didn’t approve the lean-tos. You applied for that permit June 11,  
and June 18 they arrived at that decision. I’m not sure if they send a letter or what they  
do. I really need a plan for how you are going to address things. I understand you’ll  
have surgery soon. Is Mr. Ortega helping?  
Sanchez: yes.  
Moermond: I can work with Ms. Martin to do some revised orders with something you  
can respond to. If it doesn’t work out with the electric, you can remove it as well. That’s  
an option too. Let’s get your situation squared away. After new orders, Ms. Martin,  
would it make sense to revisit the property with the list and go through so he  
understands it? Maybe with a building inspector?  
Martin: we can definitely do that again. Both the building inspector and CE officer were  
out there. He just continues to keep adding to the garage after the original orders in  
2019. I will put the date and time with the letter and can meet him out there. I’m  
thinking second week of July for the walk through?  
Sanchez: the garage needs to be removed?  
Moermond: the lean to’s need to be removed. Not the garage.  
Sanchez: the car port?  
Moermond: I believe so. But Ms. Martin can meet you and specifically point it out.  
What do you think the week of July 8th? Are you around?  
Sanchez: yes.  
Martin: let’s do 10 am on July 8th.  
Moermond: we’ll look for you to be there. We’ll include that information in a letter from  
our office as well. I’d like to talk to you again on July 9th then, and we can talk about  
the information from the 8th and where we go from there.  
Sanchez: ok, I appreciate it.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 7/9/2024  
Appeal of Cristy Hahn to a Notice to Cut Tall Grass And/Or Weeds at 957  
Grant the appeal noting landscaping meets the definition of managed natural  
landscape in Minnesota law.  
Cristy Hahn, owner, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Lisa Martin: June 24, 2024 we did received a complaint for  
tall grass and weeds. These letters are automatically generated before an inspector  
even goes out. Inspector Muños did go out and take photos this morning. Most of the  
yard is absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes people call in complaints for flowers. It is  
more a portion of the back of the house, next to the sidewalk, there’s some weeds,  
grass, and some pink flowers.  
Moermond: so by and large a beautiful garden. Did you know the letter was  
automatically generated?  
Hahn: no.  
Moermond: so, it goes out sight unseen. An inspector goes out a few days later and if  
it is taken care of, great. Sometimes thinks get tricky now because things are  
different now than they were 30 years ago, when everyone’s yards were generally  
uniform. You have the state statute in front of you. It seemed to me you had a  
managed natural landscape. I see both native and nonnative plants. People say it’s a  
prairie planning this or that. That being said, it sounds like 90% of the yard falls under  
this statute. No code violation.  
Hahn: is that section on Case next to the driveway? Our house sits funny. Behind our  
house is the fence between our house and neighbor, or there’s behind the garage. Is it  
next to the driveway, because I’m working on that this summer, but there’s no pink  
flowers there. There’s pink along case, and they are along the sidewalk, but not behind  
the house. That’s Japanese spirea.  
Moermond: the section on the non-street side of the sidewalk. That’s the portion we’re  
talking about.  
Hahn: that’s planted and the section further, closest to the driveway, I’m currently  
working on. I just planted a bunch of new plants yesterday.  
Moermond: for our purposes today I’m comfortable saying the Council grant your  
appeal. You’re actively engaged in this last little piece of it. I’m not concerned about  
that. I’m sure this has been stressful and a pain, and here you are ending up where you  
wanted to be hopefully.  
Hahn: if our yard were recognized as a natural landscape or pollinator garden, would  
that help?  
Moermond: what will show up in the system is that the appeal has been granted and it  
meets the definition of native landscape.  
Martin: I have found if people put up signs about native gardens or planting it  
sometimes helps to head off some of these calls.  
Moermond: if you ever get a letter in the mail again, I’ve appealed this before and my  
appeal was granted.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/17/2024  
1:00 p.m. Hearings  
Vacant Building Registrations  
Appeal of L Lee Coulter to a Vacant Building Registration Fee Warning  
Letter at 2117 MOHAWK AVENUE.  
Deny the appeal.  
Lee Coulter, owner, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: been in the Vacant Building program since  
May 27, 2010. It has been vacant, secured, and maintained the entire time. This was  
upgraded to a Category 3 Vacant Building in November 2023 due to the time in the  
program. I have met with Mr. coulter at his properties on multiple occasion as to  
explain the process and how we got to where we are. The Vacant Building fee is now  
past due as of May 27, 2024.  
Moermond: I know you discussed this in the hearing, but can you restate what you are  
looking for today?  
Coulter: I’m requesting the fee be reduced or put on hold since I am in the process of  
getting estimates. I have posted the $5,000 Performance Deposit. We have the Code  
Compliance Inspection Report. Is there some relief I can get on the $5,000 fee?  
Moermond: it is hard with Category 3 Vacant Buildings and the resolution in front of  
Council to order it removed or repaired. I know we are talking repaired. Its category is a  
driver on this. I have a thought that may reduce it for you, but it is not a waiver. Let it  
ride and do not pay the Vacant Building fee now. Wait for it to go to assessment, and  
if you are done with the rehab within six months of May 27, November 27, I can  
recommend it is reduced by half. I can’t do that yet though. I need to see the work  
being finished before I can do that.  
Coulter: I can’t get building permits until you sign it off, so November 27 from May  
27—can the six months start when I get the greenlight to start working?  
Moermond: no, it runs on its own clock. 14 years in the Vacant Building program kind  
of buys you this hassle, I’m afraid. I know it is a hassle. Mr. Dornfeld will make a note  
that the unpaid fee makes no impact on your ability to pull permits.  
Coulter: if I pay it, can I request a reduction in fee later?  
Moermond: no, once it is paid, it is agreeing to it.  
Coulter: so, what do I do at this point? Let it go to assessment?  
Moermond: yes. Then you will have the opportunity to appeal this as an assessment, at  
which point I can prorate it if you are done in the six-month timeframe. A May 27  
anniversary date puts you to the end of November. Hopefully the Council can grant  
time sooner versus later. We talked too that if Mr. Yannarelly and I are in agreement  
that the plans and everything is acceptable you can potentially be approved right away  
for the issuance of permits. That could come before the Council Public Hearing.  
Coulter: regarding our July 9th meeting, exactly what are you expecting from me then? I  
am getting estimates. I won’t have all of them. I can get a financial report to you. I  
need to know what you are expecting from me for July 9th.  
Moermond: I don’t have your file in front of me, but I can ask staff to confirm with you.  
It is the same as the letter that was sent out, I would refer to that. The letter was sent  
June 14 by email.  
Coulter: so, refer to the June 14 email and if I have questions, I can—is that Zinny or  
Jenny or something?  
Moermond: yes. Joanna Zimny.  
Coulter: yes, if I have any questions I can call her?  
Moermond: yes.  
Coulter: will you send me a letter regarding today? Not paying the assessment and  
letting it roll over?  
Moermond: we’ll send you a letter confirming my recommendation to the Council is to  
deny your appeal today and not give a waiver; however, I recommend you let this go to  
assessment if you want to ask for it to be prorated at a later date.  
Coulter: and you’ll send a confirmation on that stating that so if we get more letters—  
Moermond: we should be ok on that front.  
Coulter: I’ll refer back to the June 14 email to get a better idea of what I am supposed  
to have for you.  
Moermond: exactly.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/17/2024  
Appeal of David Chavez to a Vacant Building Registration Notice at 721  
Grant the appeal and release the property from the VB program.  
David Chavez, owner and occupant of Unit 1, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: this was made a Category 2 Vacant Building  
June 6, 2024 per a condemnation referral from CE. Inspector Hesse opened the  
Vacant Building file and notes there was no electric or garbage service at the property.  
property owner was running a generator to replace the electrical shut off. Placards  
posted, took photos. House appeared occupied. Sent a no Code Compliance letter. As  
of June 13, the pending work order remains that way.  
Moermond: there’s also a Summary Abatement Order?  
Dornfeld: there was a work order pending from Code Enforcement to clean up the yard,  
when the file was referred.  
Chavez: my ex-girlfriend got me kicked out. I was out of the house for 30 days. She  
left garbage everywhere. I did clean it up. I had everything in a trailer, then the City  
came and took my trailer, emptied my trailer, took my fencing. I bought new  
appliances that were by the back yard. They took them. I turned my power on 3 days  
after I got the notice. I called for an inspection, the gentleman gave me another 3 or 4  
days. I got it done. My yard is spotless.  
Moermond: tell me about the generator.  
Chavez: I was using that when the power was out. he told me to stop that, and I did.  
Moermond: Mr. Dornfeld, is the power back on? June 6 is the reinspection.  
Dornfeld: June 13 it shows the house appears occupied, but no mention of the  
Moermond: you are back in the house, sir?  
Chavez: yes, and my power is on.  
Moermond: we could use some confirmation of that, and if we get that, or an inspector  
can swing by?  
Chavez: sending someone is fine.  
Dornfeld: I certainly can check.  
Moermond: perhaps you can check the yard is cleaned up when you are there?  
Dornfeld: I can call Xcel.  
[Note: 6/26/24 Inspector Hesse checked in with Xcel and they confirmed Unit 1 has  
restored power, so appeal granted. - JZ]  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/17/2024  
Appeal of Lee Begnaud to a Vacant Building Registration Renewal  
Notice at 736 OAKDALE AVENUE.  
Waive VB fee for 120 days (to November 10, 2024) and allow permits.  
Lee Begnaud, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: entered the Vacant Building program May of  
2017. It was upgraded to a Category 2 file in July 2019 due to being in the Vacant  
Building program for more than 2 years. Other than a few sidewalk complaints for snow  
and ice it has been vacant and secure. I see a building and electrical permit pulled in  
April. The Vacant Building fee is coming due on July 10, 2024.  
Moermond: tell me Ms. Begnaud, why you are appealing?  
Begnaud: we just bought the building. We put an offer in contingent upon it getting  
rezoned to T2. We worked with Rebecca Noecker and had several meetings for getting  
it approved for rezoning. The approval went through February 7. We purchased  
February 15, 2024. When we looked at it, it was in great shape. Some graffiti, but not  
much. When I called Xcel to change the energy into my name, she said it was an  
abandoned building. We met with Jim Williamette to get our building permit. We’ve  
been working with our architect and can get our final building permit in July to start  
building. We are itching to start. When I got this in mail I didn’t understand why I was  
getting the fine. They told me to call Clint Zane and he told us a complaint was made  
in 2019 before we bought it. He was going to look at it yesterday. We bought the  
building and put signage up, take care of grass and snow. It isn’t abandoned; we just  
bought it.  
Moermond: I don’t doubt that for a minute. It was put in the Vacant Building program  
after a 2-year grace period. It wasn’t because it was abandoned, it was put into the  
program because it wasn’t being used for a significant length of time. No prospects of  
occupation in the near future. It met the definition of a Vacant Building in Code. That is  
what you inherited when you bought the property. You’re moving forward with rehab, but  
the finish line for getting out of the Vacant Building program is getting your Fire  
Certificate of Occupancy. That would allow it to be used for your prosed use, that’s the  
goal. What is your timeline?  
Begnaud: we met last Thursday and during our meeting with the architect we had a call  
about the Vacant Building fee. I’ve never bought a building before, but the codes or  
whatever the City needs to get the permits so we can get going. They can get us that  
without the “final” final drawing. We can probably get that in a week or two.  
Moermond: what is your builder saying for a timeline?  
Begnaud: we are hoping August. We keep getting pushed though, since we’re such a  
small client. It has been frustrating. We have estimates and people lined up. We’re  
just waiting on permits. Once we get those I feel like we could be done in three  
months. I just don’t know if the roofer, electrician, drywaller is pushing us to the bottom  
of their list too. Any grace you can give to give us to get it done.  
Moermond: yes. I can recommend that the City Council give 120 days. Those 120 days  
starts July 10th. That brings you to November 10th. If you don’t have your Certificate of  
Occupancy by then, it will be processed as an assessment. That is also appealable. If  
you are done six or seven months after the anniversary date, I have a record of  
prorating the Vacant Building fee. I think you got a bit of misdirection from Mr. Zane  
about whether or not it should be in the Vacant Building program or not. That isn’t his  
call. That isn’t on you, I just wanted to round that out. I think you were told something  
that wasn’t true, even though they had good intentions.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 7/17/2024  
1:30 p.m. Hearings  
Orders To Vacate - Fire Certificate of Occupancy  
Appeal of Rashad Kennedy, That Property Place LLC, to a Revocation of  
Fire Certificate of Occupancy and Order to Vacate at 741 CASE  
Layover to LH July 9, 2024 to discuss deadlines for compliance based on full Fire C of  
O inspection.  
Rashad Kennedy, owner, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Mitch Imbertson: residential building in the Fire Certificate of  
Occupancy program. The current process started 3/20 with a complaint regarding a  
broken window. Inspector went out and initial orders issued March 25 for a number  
exterior maintenance items. Reinspections made with follow up letters 4/2, 4/22, 5/2  
and May 28 we revoked the Certificate of Occupancy for noncompliance. Revocation  
letter sent May 28 which had orders to comply or vacate by June 30 with a June 14  
reinspection and requesting access to the interior. June 14 no access, wasn’t met and  
tried to leave a message for property management. Window was repaired, but the other  
items remained the same. The updated letter was sent with the reinspection or vacate  
scheduled for July 1 at 2 pm. The expectation at that time would be full compliance  
and access for interior inspection or to vacate the property if the work isn’t done. Of  
course, that is stayed pending this appeal.  
Moermond: what is going on?  
Kennedy: I had a tenant downstairs that got in a fight and she threw a rock. That  
window has been replaced. We will repair all those items, but I do need more time. I  
had to order a new window for upstairs, it is four to six weeks out. It is special order.  
We do have it boarded for now. There is one item about the chimney being weathered  
and worn. I agree, however it is fine structurally and is safe. It doesn’t look that great,  
but it is safe.  
Moermond: no access to interior yet? What’s the deal with that?  
Kennedy: I haven’t received any of the mail, it was going to an old address. I told the  
inspector that, and he emailed them to me after that. Before that I wasn’t receiving  
them. This happened with another property as well.  
Moermond: they were going to South St. Paul.  
Kennedy: yeah, that property sold.  
Moermond: we can send you the change of Responsible Party form for your Fire  
Certificate of Occupancy. I’m willing to work with you on one thing if you work with me  
on another. I’d like that interior access for inspection and I will work with you on  
exterior items. Would you be available July 1?  
Kennedy: yes.  
Moermond: I’m thinking about a second opinion on the bricks. He’s a licensed  
contractor. He knows bricks. You have people who knows bricks. Let’s get another  
opinion and see what you think.  
Imbertson: I did view the photos but with the distance and resolution when zooming it  
is hard. It did appear to need repair from what I could see, but that isn’t a substitute for  
being onsite. We wouldn’t worry cosmetically but it looked like some was coming apart  
and bricks were missing or areas that need tuckpointing. It is lined, so it isn’t a  
ventilation issue, just a structural integrity issue.  
Moermond: I’ll send this to Council on July 17th. By that time we’ll have the window  
ordered, some sort of receipt or invoice, inspectors will have had eyes on and we can  
talk on July 8 and figure out exactly what we need to be doing. We’ll discuss specific  
extensions then as a package.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 7/9/2024