Petersburg Pilot -


Borough appeals stay of demolition for Wrangell Avenue home


Petersburg Public Works staff is delaying the demolition of the building owned by Fred Triem and Karen Ellingstad on 1011 Wrangell Ave., pending a recommendation from the borough attorney.

The building’s foundation failed in September 2009. In June of 2012, Community Development Director Leo Luczak sent notice to Karen Ellingstad that the structure had been deemed a dangerous building—a designation the borough assembly agreed with after a non-compliance hearing and subsequently December 2 issued a 30-day order mandating the owners repair the structure or it would be demolished at their expense.

Ellingstad and Triem filed a stay of demolition and earlier this month appealed the borough’s demolition order.

On January 15, Borough Attorney James Brennan filed an opposition to the motion for a stay of demolition, citing Triem and Ellingstad are not entitled to a stay, “because they have not filed an adequate supersedeas bond…” according to appellate rules.

Brennan added that even if a bond were posted, the appeal should be denied because of the danger posed by the collapsed structure.

Luczak also filed an affidavit in Superior Court refuting the owner’s claim that a lack of sufficient evidence was presented during the borough’s non-compliance hearing.

During the non-compliance hearing, no photographs showing the floor in contact with the ground or percentage of decay were produced to the assembly—a fact Triem asserts “…violates the appellants’ right to a fair hearing and to due process…the reading by the Borough Mayor of the staff memorandum as the exclusive evidence in support of its order violates the core notions of procedural due process” according to two statements of points in the appeal document.

In his affidavit, Luczak states that as a result of the building’s collapse, “it is impossible from exterior observation to observe the precise damage to the pilings.” He also stated the structure is likely to further shift downhill because of the “instability of the soil and the likely loss of the building’s connection with its foundation…”

Karl Hagerman, public works director, collected floor samples from the house, which will be analyzed for asbestos content. The results from the analysis will determine whether or not safety precautions need to be made prior to any demolition that could take place.


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