The owner says the repair is 85% done, but no permits indicate that work has been
undertaken since the code compliance inspection. The property has been registered
vacant since 2014. I want to spark action but am not sure what that looks like. No
work plans, no bids, no evidence of financing, and unpaid taxes leave me stuck with a
recommendation to remove unless the owner can come forward with concrete steps
that can be taken.
Skliris: Property is in the Hamline-Midway area. I have not been the owner during the
entire period it has been vacant. Purchased it as a vacant property. I also work as a
prosecutor, living 20 hours away in North Dakota as a special assistant US attorney. I
have been making progress. I met Inspector (Matthew) Dornfeld during the inspection,
who thanked me for the interior of the building not having mice or feces. I have spent
about $300,000 on the interior alone with tiles and heated floors. After the inspection I
got a letter that the building went from a Category 2 Vacant Building to a Category 3. I
didn't know what that meant. I looked it up and learned that I lost the ability to pull
permits to make repairs. I went to a legislative hearing and did post a $5,000
performance deposit. I talked to inspector Robert Humphrey who said in an email on
the 27th (did not state the month) that I could be issued permits. Humphrey apologized
in a subsequent email where he apologized for the confusion. The notice about the
hearing was also not sent to my correct mailing address. It was sent to my parents'
home in southwest MN. I never received an email and signed up yesterday for the
Council President Brendmoen: You have two minutes. Please clarify your ask of the
Skliris: I am happy to satisfy all items delineated. I can do that. My boss the county
attorney doesn't think I should. According to my contractor the $40,000 estimate the
assessors made is inaccurate and I shouldn't have to show proof of $40,000. I can
satisfy the property taxes tomorrow. I am asking for additional time to get you this
information by September 9. Having new inspectors has also made the process
difficult. The new inspector told me I cannot put moisture resistant sheet rock in the
basement, but a Menards employee told me that wasn't true. I want to get this project
done but the inspectors in St Paul are draconian.
Moermond: Staff estimates costs exceed $40,000. If the total for bids are more than
20% less than staff estimates, a high level of detail would be required. It is acceptable
that this costs less than $40,000, but there needs to be documentation that the work
is being done. If staff says electrical work will cost $5,000 but he has a bid saying it
will cost $2,000, that is acceptable and there needs to be documentation of that. That
has been indicated in multiple letters. Regarding DSI, Robert Humphrey was in his first
day on the job when he made his mistake thinking the building was Category 2, and
corrected the mistake within a few hours, realizing it was a Category 3 and needed
Council approval and hearings. The email chain from the end of May is attached to the
record. There have been 2 months since that conversation to be able to rectify that.
The permits on file are dated and we need new permits that are timely to address the
code compliance. Having that by September 9 would be fabulous.
Councilmember Jalali moved to close the public hearing. Motion approved.
Jalali: I find Moermond's recommendation to be reasonable. There needs to be
documentation that the work required is happening and that work can happen for less
than the estimated amount. There needs to timely updated permits. These requests
are reasonable and I expect that information to get submitted. If this is not satisfied by
September 9, I agree with Moermond that we are left with no choice but to enforce our
code. Is it acceptable to Moermond to delay action until then with that requirement that
these documents get sent via email?