Petersburg Pilot -

Fate of Wrangell Ave house still pending


Suzanne Ashe / For Petersburg Pilot

The borough wants the Triem house on Wrangell Avenue demolished.

Attorneys in the Superior Court in Juneau recently argued over the fate of a collapsed house in Petersburg. The borough wants the house demolished, citing it is a dangerous structure, but the homeowners are fighting for more time to improve the property.

The house at 1011 Wrangell Avenue is owned by Fred Triem and Karen E. Ellingstad and has been the subject of some controversy since last December when the borough ordered the house to be demolished within 30 days.

Triem appealed to borough officials and later to the court and was granted a stay until Labor Day to make improvements to, or remove the structure.

During the Aug. 1 hearing in Juneau in front of Superior Court Judge Philip Michael Pallenberg, Triem argued that the December notice was a "trial by ambush" and that he had not been given adequate time to make improvements to the house that fell off of its foundation in 2009.

Community Development Director Leo Luczak sent a letter in 2012 to Triem and Ellingstad asking them for a plan to bring the structure up to code.

Petersburg Borough attorney Jim Brennan told the court the homeowners have not contested that something should be done with the structure, but "...[the] entire argument (of the homeowners) is limited to objections to the assembly's procedures regarding notice of opportunity to be heard which objections the owners never raised during the administrative process."

After nearly an hour of oral arguments, Judge Pallenberg said he would make a ruling soon in the case.

After the proceeding, Petersburg Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht said, "The Petersburg Borough continues to hope the Superior Court's decision comes soon so efforts can be taken this summer to either remove or stabilize the property on Wrangell (Ave). It is unfortunate that the property owners chose to allow this structure to get into this shape and force the Borough into using taxpayer dollars to get it cleaned up. It is definitely not fair to the neighbors on Wrangell (Ave) or down-slope on Nordic (Dr) who have had to live with this issue for several years. It is clear the structure is no longer habitable and the Borough hopes to have it removed for the safety of everyone in the area."


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