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, August 2, 2022  
9:00 AM  
Room 330 City Hall & Court House/Remote  
9:00 a.m. Hearings  
Special Tax Assessments  
RLH TA 22-292  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 586  
BURGESS STREET. (File No. VB2212, Assessment No. 228818)  
Continue PH to April 5, 2023 to see if property has received its CC Certificate. Prorate  
if applicable or make payable over 5 years.  
Tom Novak, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Novak: I’m at work right now. Something I have to do since the City is forcing me into  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: March 2020 this started as a Category 1  
Vacant Building due to a fire. Rehab has been stalled for some time. Changed to  
Category 2 due to length of rehab. Currently expired permits. Total proposed  
assessment of $2,616.  
Moermond: why are you appealing?  
Novak: first of all, I never got notification I had 90 days from the original fire. I found  
out after a year and a half I was assessed 2600 twice already. Got permits. Pandemic  
happened. Couldn’t get anyone over for over year. Finally got a contractor who took  
20k. Got another contractor, told me about all the delays. We got it put together and  
then after one year from the insurance gives a check they are done. There’s no going  
back since prices increased to ask for more. Outside is pretty much done. Property is  
maintained. Why is the City charging me all this money to say it is vacant? I got the  
permits but couldn’t use them because I couldn’t find a contractor. Now they want  
more money to renew the permits. I’m not seeing a reduction in taxes or anything from  
the City to help me. It is more money every time I turn around. This is my property and  
I’m doing the best I can. I’m working extra to try and make it work. Now my mortgage  
went up $1,000 because of these assessments. This isn’t a vacant building. It’s a  
house. I’m almost bankrupt since the money from insurance is gone. I can’t mortgage  
any more money. I’ve got friends helping me. Weeds aren’t growing. There’s no trash.  
But every time I turn around there’s more money.  
Moermond: we haven’t’ talked before so what I can see in the paper file is you had a  
fire March 2020. Tell me about what happened there.  
Novak: the fire started on the deck and burned into the eaves and attic. Then the  
contractor said you had to fix the whole top of the house and gut the house. Insurance  
company said everything had to go. It has 1956 plaster. We stripped everything.  
Smoke damage was confined to the back entry and attic. We did a lot of extra work  
because of what they said. The first contractor, Res Pro, wanted $310,000 to put it  
back together in 2020. Res Pro also took $32,000 to clean my dishes and Precious  
Moments. $16,000 to clean my clothes from Clean and Press. Then disposing of my  
furniture was thousands.  
Moermond: so Res Pro started working, they were your first contractor. You ended that  
Novak: yes because the insurance company only gave me so much money. At the  
time the Pandemic started and the City said I needed an architect. I called for months.  
Finally I found one, Newson in Minneapolis. He did the plans for the house. Bought  
permits. Then I couldn’t get another contractor because none of them wanted to work  
or had people. Remodeling by Ron came in and then there were delays after they took  
the top of the house off. Hardwood floors got damaged because March 2021 it rained.  
It all had to come out. Extra expense there. I had to put in vinyl flooring. Then Res Pro  
cleaned my stuff and now they’re trying to sue me because I haven’t got my stuff back,  
I had no place to put it, I’m paying $1,000 a month in storage pods. Now they want to  
charge me $6,000 storage fee since they’ve had it a year. I can’t pay that. It is  
Moermond: so this second contractor took the roof off, replaced the trusses but didn’t  
complete it, floors got damaged, which added expenses. What happened after that?  
Do you still have the same contractor?  
Novak: they took the whole top of the house off. Then they tarped it. Then it snowed.  
Then they couldn’t do something and it sat for 3 weeks and melted and rained. Then  
they couldn’t’ get a crane for a couple weeks. They got the trusses up in one day. Five  
days later they had it done. That was July 2021 it was sealed. Then I started siding and  
putting in new windows. I have 2 left to put in. New rear door is going in. I have to finish  
electrical and get plumbing in and get it insulated and Sheetrocked. Then I can put  
floors in and have it ready to move back in. My wife and I have been homeless since  
March 2020.  
Moermond: where have you been staying?  
Novak: we were in an apartment for almost a year, then that money ran out. Between  
Oklahoma, my daughter, wherever my wife was. Couch surfing. We are now staying  
with a friend for now. Trying to get this done.  
Moermond: Mr. Yannarelly, tell me what is going on with the permits. Let’s talk about  
the building permits. A couple have been pulled.  
Yannarelly: expired plumbing, mechanical permits. Expired on accessory structure.  
Since it’s a Category 2 now, a Code Compliance Inspection would be necessary to get  
new permits. It was made a 2 just because it has been 2 years since the fire.  
Moermond: so you give two years unless something changes?  
Yannarelly: yes.  
Moermond: you had trades people in, plumbing in, but no finaled permit. Current  
electrical permit you pulled. We have a mechanical permit pulled. Where is that work  
Novak: I pulled all those permits at the beginning they expired because no work was  
started. I erred in the fact I had to get these permits and then no contractors showed  
up. I figured if I never used them why would have to renew them? I didn’t use them. I  
guess that’s not the case. Have to pay again, even though I had one inspector out.  
Building inspector came out. They came out and hooked my gas and electric back up.  
Electrical has started. Plumbing is halfway done. Just a matter of finding help and  
getting money to get it done.  
Moermond: it looks like they expired because there wasn’t a reinspection within 6  
months of issuance. That is standard operating procedure. You pulled the permits  
Novak: yes. Then they said I had to pull all at once. I can’t just pull one at a time, I  
had to have all the inspections done at the same time. They said everyone had to  
come out at once.  
Moermond: I’m not sure what that’s about, I haven’t heard that before. You are  
definitely in a bind here. Your insurance money for working on rehab, is that all gone?  
And the place still has tarp on the roof?  
Novak: the roof was done July 2021. Outside is pretty much done and we’ll start inside.  
Moermond: what is going on with your mail? We have your mailing address as 586  
Burgess. Do you have a P.O. Box?  
Novak: it goes to the house and I check it occasionally. I go by every few days.  
Sometimes I don’t get stuff, I don’t know where it is going. I can’t move my address  
when I’m moving and living some place temporarily.  
Moermond: but you do have a P.O. Box? Could you share that so the City could send  
mail there too?  
Novak: Sure. P.O. Box 211431 Egan MN, 55121-3031.  
[Novak disconnected and called back 9:24]  
Moermond: I am not crazy about forcing Vacant Building fees. I’m not sure what  
happened with your previous assessments. When there is a fire the City automatically  
waives the Vacant Building fee for 90 days. So through Jun e2020 the fee would have  
been waived. If you would have been back online July 2020 there would have been no  
fee. Once that came they started processing the fee. The first fee would have been  
2020 to 2021. This is a third one for 2022 to 2023. I’m interested in seeing if we can  
get you connected with some financial resources to finish. I am concerned this will  
drag on while you’re barely keeping your head above water. Everything coming down on  
you. I’m going to see if we can connect you with some resources that may be able to  
help. With respect to the Vacant Building fee, at the very least I can make them  
payable over a number of years so it helps with taxes. I’d like to get you out of the  
program so it can get prorated. That means finaling these permits. When there is a fire  
the assumption historically was the insurance company is stepping in and assessing  
the situation and hiring professional contractors and doing a thorough assessment to  
bring it up to its pre-fire condition. City has allowed that even a very damaged building  
wouldn’t require a Code Compliance Inspection because of that insurance activity.  
What has happened in your case is that activity hasn’t led to the house being  
rehabbed and somewhat different circumstances now. Different problems than then.  
DSI is saying they would like to review the property and do a general inspection and  
have that be the basis for your permits moving forward. They do have the ability to  
expire these. They’re almost 2 years old. I don’t have the ability to reactivate those this  
far out. I’m hopeful we could find some assistance to get you moving. I’m going to ask  
the Council to continue your hearing from September 14 to April 5 and in the meantime  
see if we can get you connected with some resources. Have you got this mortgaged?  
Any equity?  
Novak: I have equity but debt to mortgage ratio is not good. I was supposed to retire 2  
years ago. Now I can’t because I’m trying to do this. I was trying to get it done by  
paying exorbitant prices.  
Moermond: since Covid your story is pretty common in terms of contractors being hard  
to find and retain, as well as supplies. Those have really thrown a wrench into people’s  
circumstances. The shortages drove up prices so people’s insurance didn’t cover the  
true cost of bringing it back online. That is happening to a lot of people. We’ll get you  
some contact people. Think broadly about your options with this house. I want you to  
think about your end goal. Is it to move back into this particular house? Or to have a  
house you have that you are safe in, and maybe it isn’t this one? That’s what I see  
some people do. I wanted to put that on the table. You want to look at this broadly and  
its pros and cons. In your own interest do that. You are going to need the Code  
Compliance Inspection. You are going to have to pay for that. We can send you that  
application. That is around $500. This is what you need to do to meet minimum Code  
requirements. That is also the information that anyone who may provide assistance  
would need so they have the parameters of work that needs to be done for bids. It has  
a double purpose. In the event you would walk on it, it can be used as a disclosure  
document in a sale. I’m sorry it costs more money. Put a lock box on the door and the  
four trades inspectors will go through and create a punch list. I’m so sorry for your  
troubles. Do you have an email address?  
Novak: graciemay586@yahoo.com  
Moermond: we’ll send you an email but also mail you a letter to be safe. September 14  
at your Public Hearing I’ll ask them to continue this to April 5, 2023. You will have  
been in the Vacant Building program for the entire year that bill is for unless you get  
done. If you are, I can prorate it. If you cannot, I can make it payable over 5 years so it  
is small bites on your property tax bill. Either way it is putting off that bill with no  
interest for the next 6 months to give you some breathing room.  
Novak: [confused about this P.O. Box number] Let me call you back with that  
Moermond: call 651-266-8585 and leave your name and the number.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH TA 22-293  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 935  
IGLEHART AVENUE. (File No. VB2212, Assessment No. 228818)  
If Code Compliance Cert is received by September 14, 2022 reduce from $2,616 to  
$872. If not done, continue Public Hearing to October 11 and if CC Cert issued by  
then, reduce assessment from $2,616 to $1,308.  
Donald Steele, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this is a Category 2 Vacant Building which  
went into the program March 23, 2017. This is the prospective fee for 2022 to 2023.  
Total proposed assessment of $2,616. Numerous open permits. Several closed.  
Moermond: what is going on?  
Steele: I want to thank the City for working with me. It has been difficult. I am so close  
to completing. We got two units out of it. It has taken me longer due to financing.  
Right now I have over $400,000 in this project. I’m asking for more time. We have a  
few outstanding permits. I’m building a brand new project. I have it on the market for  
sale. All I’m asking for the City is some sympathy because of Covid and delays. If they  
would waive the Vacant Building fee another few months. I just have 2 more  
inspections and it should be done.  
Moermond: I imagine it will be wonderful when you can finally sell. The fee I’m looking  
at today covers March 2022 through March 2023. It sounds like you’re close to being  
done. Will you be done in six weeks?  
Steele: It should be less than that. I just lowered the price and built a new garage. The  
outstanding permit left was just for the garage. I just put $30,000 in that. I should be  
done in another 3 to 4 weeks.  
Moermond: your Public Hearing is scheduled for September 14, 2022. If when the  
Council has that Public Hearing you have the project completed, I will ask them to  
decrease your assessment to one-third its current amount. That’s 5 months into the  
billable year, I’d be giving you a bill for 4 months. A dramatic reduction. That will be  
my proposal. If you aren’t done September 14 with your Code Compliance Inspection  
I’m going to ask them to continue it to October 11. I will still cut it In half then if you  
are done by then. So you have another chance to get it reduced.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
10:00 a.m. Hearings  
Special Tax Assessments  
Deleting the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 850  
EDMUND AVENUE. (File No. J2227A, Assessment No. 228532)  
Delete the assessment.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: we are doing the follow up on this. We were already going to delete and get  
some Follow up information from the hauler to identify the problem. We sent a follow  
up email to Public Work staff who communicated with Republic and honestly the email  
chain doesn’t address the problem we identified. Still going ahead with the  
recommendation to delete. This information was simply supplemental to the record.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/3/2022  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 380  
LONDIN PLACE. (File No. J2212E, Assessment No. 228316)  
Layover to LH August 16, 2022 at 10 am (unable to reach PO).  
Voicemail at 10:07 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling you  
about your appealed tax assessment for 380 Londin Place. We’ll try you back in 10  
minutes or so.  
Voicemail at 10:17 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling you  
about trying you again about your appealed tax assessment. I’m going to continue this  
to August 16 and we’ll try you back then between 10 and 11:00.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/16/2022  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1565  
MCLEAN AVENUE. (File No. J2212E, Assessment No. 228316)  
Layover to LH August 16, 2022 at 10 am (unable to reach PO).  
Voicemail left at 10:10 am: This is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you about your appealed tax assessment for 1565 MacLean Avenue. We’ll try you  
again in 15 minutes or so.  
Voicemail left at 10:19 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you again about your appealed assessment. We’ll lay this over and try to reach you  
again on August 16 between 10 and 11 am.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/16/2022  
RLH TA 22-287  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 420  
OHIO STREET. (File No. J2208P, Assessment No. 228407)  
Delete the assessment (waiver on file).  
No one appeared  
Moermond: delete because a waiver was on file. Let’s do that.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH TA 22-283  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 652  
SHERBURNE AVENUE. (File No. J2208P, Assessment No. 228407)  
Delete the assessment (waiver on file).  
No one appeared  
Moermond: delete because a waiver was on file. Let’s do that.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH TA 22-278  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 514  
THOMAS AVENUE. (File No. J2212E, Assessment No. 228316)  
Reduce assessment from $159 to $50.  
Ian Buck, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Lisa Martin: March 2, 2022 a Summary Abatement Order  
was issued to occupant and owner to remove and dispose of a chest dresser from  
behind garage. Compliance date March 9. Rechecked and contacted property owner,  
rechecked again March 17. Still wasn’t done so a Work Order was sent. When the  
crew got there it was removed. So this was the cost of dispatching the crew. Total  
proposed assessment of $159. No returned mail.  
Moermond: this was because the work wasn’t’ done on deadline, or by the extension  
date. So this was the cost of deploying the crew  
Martin: correct.  
Moermond: why are you appealing?  
Buck: from my perspective, I got that letter dated March 9 and didn’t get it until after  
the extension deadline. As soon as I saw it, I went back and saw the dresser and  
pulled it into the garage to disassemble. I’m sorry I didn’t see it in time to avoid the  
City sending out a crew. I didn’t realize the deadline had already passed. I  
acknowledge I did the work after the deadline, but I didn’t realize and I did do it as  
soon as I was aware of it. I’m asking for grace in terms of feeling like I did everything I  
Moermond: it looks like in the order of events, March 2 the order was issued, it had a  
deadline a week later. The inspector called and said the deadline is here, gave another  
week for the work to be done and then the dresser was moved into the garage by the  
time the crew showed up. I’m seeing there was some time given to work on it. It is  
exceptional the Inspector even called.  
Buck: I don’t remember a call. I just got mail from what I remember.  
Moermond: notes say contacted property owner. That typically means a call. You’re  
looking for some grace. Light history here?  
Martin: barely anything. Looking at the photos it may not even be his dresser, it is  
between the 2 garages.  
Buck: no, someone dumped it behind my garage. I don’t go back there often so I  
didn’t see it until I go the letter.  
Moermond: you have a good history; you got some extra time. Balancing it all, I’m  
going to recommend it is reduced down to $50. If you want to appeal further that is  
fine, information on how to do so is on the letter you got.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH TA 22-284  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1080  
UNIVERSITY AVENUE WEST. (File No. J2208P, Assessment No.  
Delete the assessment (waiver on file).  
No one appeared  
Moermond: delete because a waiver was on file. Let’s do that.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
Special Tax Assessments-ROLLS  
RLH AR 22-72  
Ratifying the assessments for Collection of Vacant Building Registration  
fees billed during December 3 to March 17, 2022. (File No. VB2212,  
Assessment No. 228818)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH AR 22-73  
RLH AR 22-74  
RLH AR 22-75  
Ratifying the assessments for Securing and/or Emergency Boarding  
services during April 2022. (File No. J2212B, Assessment No. 228116)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
Ratifying the assessments for Demolition services from March 2022 at  
120 Winter St. (File No. J2205C, Assessment No. 222004)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
Ratifying the assessments for Excessive Use of Inspection or Abatement  
services billed during February 22 to March 18, 2022. (File No. J2212E,  
Assessment No. 228316)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
RLH AR 22-76  
Ratifying the assessments for Graffiti Removal services during April 4 to  
May 17, 2022. (File No. J2208P, Assessment No. 228407)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/14/2022  
11:00 a.m. Hearings  
Summary & Vehicle Abatement Orders  
Appeal of David Jacobowitch to a Summary Abatement Order at 839  
Grant the appeal of orders relating to boarding on condition the CCI application is  
submitted by September 2, 2022. Property to remain vacant.  
David Jacobowitch, owner, appeared.  
Moermond: good morning Mr. Jacobowitch  
Jacobowitch: good is debatable, but it is morning.  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process] Another name for a Summary  
Abatement Order would be a Summary Nuisance Abatement order, which was issued  
by Inspector James Hoffman. I will give a recommendation today and it will go to  
Council next Wednesday, August 10.  
Staff report by Inspector James Hoffman: the conditions that led to the order, that was  
an initial appeal on the Vacant Building status. That recommendation went to City  
Council and they confirmed your recommendation to have it vacated and secured. I  
then sent a Summary Abatement Order to vacate and secure with a compliance date  
of August 1. August 1 I had St. Paul Police Department available and our boarding  
contractor to visit and vacate. I was notified of the appeal filed on Friday on that order.  
Moermond: and the Council considered this case July 13. They granted an extension to  
July 15 to vacate. So you gave a couple weeks’ grace before you aware it continued to  
be occupied?  
Hoffman: yes, after conferring with my supervisor about how to proceed. I spoke with  
David Monday the 25th on the phone stating the procedure and what would happen.  
Told him about the abatement order to vacate and it would be smoother if he vacated  
prior to us arriving.  
Moermond: there was already an order to vacate embedded in the condemnation and  
order to vacate and Vacant Building registration. This Summary Abatement Order is  
“you were ordered to do this and because you didn’t we’re forcing the issue and doing it  
ourselves.” So upping the ante.  
Hoffman: correct.  
Jacobowitch: on the 15th I wasn’t organized, I admit that. I didn’t have anywhere to go.  
I felt vacating at that time was impossible. I didn’t’ do it. I have disabled adult children  
who can’t be dumped on the street. They are vulnerable adult. I would be committing a  
crime if I did that. 2 weeks have passed. I have arranged safe housing for my adult  
children. I am and have vacated as of August 1. I will not dispute the order to vacate at  
this point. The request I have is that you do not board the house. The house is secure.  
A lock box is on the property. I will give the code. The cost of boarding would be  
punitive to me and result in me having less money to rehab the property. I’m begging  
here Marcia to not board the house and beat me to death and charge me thousands of  
dollars before I can even begin work. I hope you’ll decide the house isn’t boarded and  
instead made secure with a lock box. That is the basis of the appeal.  
Moermond: ok. And the decision to vacate is water under the bridge. The Council  
made the decision back in July  
Jacobowitch: that was a hard decision for me. I’m asking for understanding at this  
Moermond: because it wasn’t vacated when the Department wanted it to be they are  
skeptical it will be. That is on average how things look. That is why they board houses  
in these conditions. Because they have that history and experience. You are telling me  
the children are out now? Or you have arrangements?  
Jacobowitch: I have arrangements. I have to drive them tonight to South Dakota. We  
stayed in a hotel last night because I gave my word we would vacate by August 1.  
Tonight I’m driving to South Dakota where they will have secure housing. I’ve never  
given you my word on vacating before but I am now.  
Moermond: I’d like to say we can forgo the boarding of the property on the condition in  
the next month you apply for that Code Compliance Inspection.  
Jacobowitch: I plan to apply within a week.  
Moermond: you take steps forward to get this behind you, and we’ll help you by not  
boarding and have some faith you are going to follow through. It sounds like you are  
Jacobowitch: sounds like that’s the best I’m going to get and that sounds acceptable  
to me.  
Moermond: so get that Code Compliance Inspection applied for. They won’t be able to  
do it until the house is cleaned out enough that they can clearly see the walls, floors,  
utilities in the basement. Clear. Really good sightlines. Mr. Hoffman could maybe do a  
walk through with you if you give him a call, to see if it is clear to that point. That is job  
one. Let’s say a month to have that Code Compliance Inspection.  
Jacobowitch: one of my major concerns was how clean it needs to be.  
Moermond: they need to be able to see all fixtures easily. All sockets, switches, vents,  
holes, and walls to see.  
Jacobowitch: empty of furniture?  
Moermond: a minimal amount of furniture that can be put in the middle of the room is  
what is allowed.  
Jacobowitch: there may be some issues but they may be minor and easily corrected.  
Moermond: that is typically how that happens. We run into problems when people put  
everything in the middle and we have something 7 feet tall in the middle of the room.  
So you can have feedback from Mr. Hoffman on that.  
Hoffman: are you still receiving a dumpster from House Calls?  
Jacobowitch: I believe they are sending one. Diana Carey has been the most helpful  
governmental person I’ve worked with.  
Moermond: she will be your go-to on the dumpster. Let’s get that Code Compliance  
Inspection applied for in a month. That means you need to be cleaned out in a month,  
is that doable?  
Jacobowitch: I believe I can do it quicker. I expect to.  
Moermond: and once you apply for it, I will ask them to expedite it.  
Jacobowitch: that would be helpful.  
Moermond: and having Mr. Hoffman say it is ready to go.  
Jacobowitch: I have a storage shed and garage on the property. What do I have to do  
with those?  
Moermond: typically they do look at the buildings. I’m going to say it is more for  
structural stability.  
Jacobowitch: that may be an issue with the shed.  
Moermond: don’t plan on filling those buildings with stuff from the house, because they  
will need to see them too. They’re looking for different things, but they do need to see  
it. If those buildings are “full” they will have a harder time.  
Hoffman: as far as accessory structures, they are pretty clear cut. If they are in rough  
shape you can usually tell by looking at it. They want to see structural integrity. No  
holes. Siding not falling off. They aren’t going to go through it with a fine-tooth comb  
like they do with the house. The point of the Code Compliance Inspection is they want  
to find anything that could potentially be an issue for you in the future. They want it a  
safe for both you and for the neighbors.  
Moermond: hoarded house fires burn hotter and longer and take more water to put out.  
More water means more damage to your house, floors likely fail.  
Jacobowitch: I don’t think it is any more of a fire hazard than anywhere else in the City,  
but I suppose that’s matter of dispute.  
Moermond: I’ll grant your appeal of the boarding. If it becomes an issue in the future  
Mr. Hoffman can write another order. You have his contact information so he can look  
at it when you think you’re ready to go.  
Jacobowitch: there’s another issue I want to discuss. Do you recall our conversation  
about the natural gas system in the house? Do you remember me saying my intention  
was if I applied for that it would be granted?  
Moermond: no. I cannot say that legally. I have no authority of the issuance over any  
building or trade permit. My recommendation to the Council was you become a  
Category 2 Vacant Building and that would need to happen before a permit could be  
issued at all. You were saying you disagreed with my recommendation, which was fine,  
and I suggested if you wanted to make the strongest case to Council you could it  
would be best served by putting together bids and demonstrating financing to do the  
repairs. You included some of that information to Council and they weren’t persuaded.  
But I was giving you my best advice.  
Jacobowitch: I can tell you how I proceeded based on my interpretation of the  
Moermond: you provided bids and hired a contractor and they tried to pull permits  
because it was a Category 2 Vacant Building.  
Jacobowitch: and I would like to clarify that. I did hire a contractor. They did apply for a  
permit believing it would be granted. Believing that they did the work. There is a new  
gas re-pipe system in the house right now. What we found out was that the permit  
would be denied only after it was denied. So it is installed, I paid $7,000 to do that. It is  
ready to be tested.  
Moermond: that is something your contractor could work out with the plumbing  
inspectors. They will see that had happened and take it into account when doing their  
inspection. They need that Code Compliance Inspection before they can issue the  
permits. It isn’t to say they won’t be issuing the permit for the work that is done. They  
may be adding things to a punch list that needs to be taken care of in that arena as  
well as what you have already done.  
Jacobowitch: I’m just a layman who isn’t good at this.  
Moermond: we didn’t talk about that because we were focusing on other things in the  
Jacobowitch: I actually thought we were discussing that but my interpretation was  
different from your intent I’m sure.  
Moermond: hopefully that clarifies things. The plumbing inspector can work with your  
contractor. It is a reputable contractor who you hired. It is resolvable.  
Jacobowitch: I appreciate that, it eases my mind.  
Moermond: my best guess is they will say you need to pull a permit and ‘here are some  
other things’ on a checklist for the plumbing besides what has already been done.  
Jacobowitch: I have secured financing sitting in an account. I’m hoping it will be  
enough. One of my fears is I don’t have enough available to do this.  
Moermond: the sooner you get that report the better. There is work you can undertake  
if you have those skills.  
Jacobowitch: I may have to acquire those skills quick.  
Moermond: you’ve paid an expensive bill already. Mr. Hoffman will be a good contact  
as you move forward. Sounds like Diana Carey is helping you as well, which is great.  
Jacobowitch: what am I required to do at this point? I know I have to apply for the  
Code Compliance. What other requirements will you make of me?  
Moermond: you need to clean out the house enough that a Code Compliance  
Inspection can be conducted. That applies to the accessory structure as well. I’d like  
to see that within a month. You have a goal for it to happen sooner. It is in your  
interest to do that sooner. Once you have that report, McQuillan can pull the permit for  
the work they did. You’ll know what else needs to be done. That list is going to be what  
you need to share with an electrical contractor or building contractor.  
Jacobowitch: am I allowed to do demolition work? for example I have a plaster ceiling  
that needs to come down.  
Moermond: you’ll need to pull an interior demolition permit.  
Jacobowitch: can that be done before the Code Compliance?  
Moermond: I think it can, but I’m not the person to answer that.  
Hoffman: I don’t know that offhand. Typically if it is for exploratory type of things. An  
interior demolition permit, once you pull the regular permits that is implied it will be  
demo or changed.  
Jacobowitch: it is my intention to remove some of the 112 year old plaster in the house  
and replace with drywall.  
Moermond: I’d wait until it is ready to inspect.  
Jacobowitch: I think all the important things have been addressed. I’ve been  
depressed as hell over this, but I’m going to do my best.  
Moermond: my experience human to human, people are in a tough place before they  
get to this point.  
Jacobowitch: no, I was happy as hell.  
Moermond: you had your ex-wife and your son in here and they were struggling with the  
conditions. There is some level of stress in the family. That level of tension exists and  
this brings it to crisis point which crystalizes things which makes a person depressed  
and struggle. It is both anxiety producing and depression inducing.  
Jacobowitch: and you have no idea and I wish you did.  
Moermond: I think I have a greater idea than you may think.  
Jacobowitch: I doubt it or you’d be more sympathetic to my situation.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/10/2022  
Second Making finding on the appealed nuisance abatement ordered for  
607 TOPPING STREET in Council File RLH SAO 22-14.  
The nuisance is abated and the matter resolved.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: we have an inspector who has confirmed this was resolved?  
Mai Vang: Kedrowski sent an email on June 10.  
Moermond: the matter is resolved and nuisance abated.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/10/2022  
Making finding on the appealed nuisance abatement ordered for 2144  
TEMPLE COURT in Council File RLH VBR 22-35.  
The nuisance is abated and the matter resolved.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: we have an email from Rick Gavin saying that has been cleaned up.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/10/2022  
1:00 p.m. Hearings (NONE)  
Vacant Building Registrations  
1:30 p.m. Hearings  
Orders To Vacate - Fire Certificate of Occupancy  
RLH VO 22-20  
Appeal of Abby Miskowic to a Revocation of Fire Certificate of  
Occupancy and Order to Vacate at 608 WELLS STREET.  
Deny the appeal noting the property is now in compliance and the Fire Certificate of  
Occupancy has been issued.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: we laid this over because she hadn’t had a Certificate of Occupancy  
inspection for a long time. It was scheduled for yesterday and results were?  
Supervisor Leanna Shaff: I approved the Fire Certificate of Occupancy yesterday and  
told her she didn’t need to be available this afternoon.  
Moermond: recommend Council deny the appeal noting the property is now in  
compliance and the Fire Certificate of Occupancy has been issued.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/17/2022  
2:00 p.m. Hearings  
Fire Certificates of Occupancy  
Appeal of Mark Younghans to a Fire Certificate of Occupancy Correction  
Notice at 1191 EARL STREET.  
Layover to LH August 23, 2022 at 2 pm for further discussion. PO to provide  
engineering analysis of brick facade indicating if there are necessary measures to  
ensure public in the ROW and protect the gas meter connection. Recommendation is  
to keep September 1, 2022 deadline for 7/27 correction order.  
Mark Younghans, owner, appeared via phone  
Moermond: we’re going to revisit orders we’ve discussed in the past. [Moermond gives  
background of appeals process]. We have two separate orders, one attached to the  
appeal but Inspector Shaff will address both of those.  
Staff report by Supervisor Leanna Shaff: on the exterior of the building is brick veneer.  
We have large cracks, one major near the water meter. Mortar failing. Those orders  
were first issued September of 2020. It was heard in your hearing room October of  
2021. Subsequently in December of 2021 it was given June 1, 2022 deadline for  
compliance. We don’t have compliance as the Council ordered. We still have issues.  
Reading some of the thoughts from the contractor and the causes of these issues and  
the importance of maintaining. There is quite a big job to do. Mr. Younghans is trying  
to get STAR Grant funding. We’re a couple months past the date of compliance and  
he’s looking for an extension on that brick and mortar work. In the meantime we  
received a complaint about the exterior fire suppression system, the exhaust fan/roof.  
The exhaust fan for the restaurant seems to be failing Inspector Huseby had that  
piece, she took photos and wrote orders showing it is failing and the grease is on the  
roofing material.  
Moermond: the shiny material on the roof is grease?  
Shaff: yes. It also looks the restaurant has failed to clean their exhaust and duct work  
as required in a timely manner, making the situation worse. It was last cleaned  
November 2021, and due in May 2023. Also the suppression system under the hood  
was last done November 2021 and is to be done a minimum of every six months. We  
may have an exhaust fan that is supposed to carry those grease-laden vapors out and  
it hasn’t been cleaned in a timely fashion and is potentially failing.  
Moermond: and that’s based on the condition of the equipment and thinking it needs  
replacement sooner vs. later.  
Shaff: yes.  
Moermond: and that’s something their contractor could advise on. Looks like photos  
are unchanged from 2021.  
Shaff: I asked for new photos but the Inspector is saying nothing has changed.  
Moermond: Mr. Younghans, where are things at from your perspective? Let’s talk first  
about the restaurant.  
Younghans: that really throws me off. I don’t know what I should say. Essentially that  
hailstorm hit St. Paul and insurance approved a new roof. You have to remove that  
hood vent to do so. My contractor, in attempting to get the insurance to update the  
system, he’s the one who mad ethe complaint. He reached out to ask if we could put it  
back on if it was taken off. Apparently he said it wasn’t working, that isn’t the case. My  
tenant has never complained. I was on the roof when the inspector came out.  
Moermond: what I was reading in the orders not that it wasn’t working but rather it  
needed to be serviced. That was all that was written in the orders, nothing about  
replacement or failure of the system. Simply about it being serviced because it is a  
Younghans: Huseby said it wasn’t working and that was the complaint. She verified it  
was. I’m trying to get an estimate of what it would cost if I did have to. My contractor  
started the complaint in an effort to see if we could get insurance to cover some of the  
cost. My tenant didn’t do those maintenance thing, which is really my fault, I should be  
checking and require it in their lease since it is my building.  
Moermond: your contractor reached out to the City to talked about permitting and it  
sounds like if there were City orders on the hood and vent system it would help with an  
insurance claim on replacement?  
Younghans: in some ways yes, because we have to remove it for sure and if the City  
won’t let us put that back on then insurance may have to cover it. He has been  
emailing someone because he sent me one asking if it would work. The system is  
working great, it just isn’t catching it. It is an older system, I’m not sure what it was  
supposed to look like. Wong’s kitchen is supposed to pay for the maintenance. They  
do get it fixed and pay for maintenance; they are running late. I’ve talked to her 3 times  
about it. That’s not your fault, but they did have it cleaned right after the Certificate of  
Occupancy inspection cycle started. I sent that receipt to the inspector. It clearly  
hasn’t been cleaned since. I want it fixed so it captures it. I told her she can’t damage  
my $100,000 roof with her grease.  
Moermond: I’m thinking that the roof is something that will likely be tackled this  
season under insurance because of hail damage, but in the meantime we have a hood  
and vent system that needs cleaning. It should have been done May of 2022 and it is  
causing a problem and mess because it hasn’t been serviced in a timely fashion. The  
orders say to get it done by September 1. I will recommend Council keep that deadline  
related to the cleaning of the system from the July 27 order.  
Younghans: I agree.  
Moermond: moving on to the brick situation. You have a couple things going on, talk  
to me about what has transpired the last six months.  
Younghans: it has been a long process and I appreciate your patience. Initially I  
thought it was safe enough so we’d be able to talk about it more since a ledge was put  
in. I understand the risk now. And engineer was on the call with us before and I haven’t  
been able to reach him since. I have bids from $10,000 to $91,000. I applied for the  
STAR Grant. I was asking for funds to help with the roof before the store happened, it  
is older. I wanted money towards brick work and the driveway. Yesterday a lady  
yesterday a lady pulled in and her car started on fire and it melted a portion of the  
driveway. I did my interview with them a while back, I called and asked for an update.  
They make decisions Mid-July, then they go to the City Council for approval. That  
decision isn’t until the end of August. I didn’t realize it took that long. Any work that  
starts before that approval can’t be used with those funds. I’m stuck between a rock  
and a hard place. I asked them for $30 and I was matching $30k. That’s part of the  
delay. I’m trying to be smart. I don’t know if there is $60,000 worth of work. I’m leaning  
towards the $10,000 bid. I’ve used him before. If I don’t get approval from the STAR  
grant I do have the funds to pay him but I don’t know if he can get it done this season  
once I hear back on the grant.  
Moermond: we talked about this last fall. We talked about an engineer looking at it  
and being able to tell the City if any mitigation or safety measures need to be taken  
between now and when the repairs can occur. Thinking specifically like if there is a  
need for the right-of-way to be protected. Or some set up around the gas meter. I’m  
looking to an engineer to say that does or doesn’t need to happen and if it does we can  
do an extension based on those safety measures being taken. If none need to  
happen, at least we have that clear. With the City being aware this has been a problem  
I’m concerned about letting it continue .If even one brick falls it is going to rain City  
staff and money over there to protect the right-of-way which will be a large tax  
assessment on your property. It is probably more cost effective to have an engineer  
address that. Then we can give you that extension to realistically address the STAR  
funding timeline and the construction season.  
Younghans: is there any companies you would refer? I called many last time, that last  
guy never responded. He never followed up or answered calls. I can start right away,  
just my experience last time didn’t go very well.  
Moermond: I’m thinking that these people are licensed as engineers and at the very  
least you could look for licensed engineers in St. Paul. Ms. Shaff, any insight? Noting  
the City can’t recommend a particular company over another.  
Shaff: it is really difficult to say.  
Moermond: the last page of the BRC bid with those companies is a great resource.  
We’ve reached a conclusion on the venting. I’d like to give you a few weeks to figure  
out the brick issue. Let’s talk again in 3 weeks and you can do some outreach. Then  
we can chart a path forward. Let’s talk again August 23. We’ll keep the September 1  
deadline for the hood and vent system.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/23/2022