‘Dangerous’ Garage: Coleridge Property Owners Asking For More Time to Make Repairs

October 6, 2011

The property owners at 4144 Coleridge will ask the Building and Standards Commission tonight for an extension of time to demolish or repair the “dangerous” garage on their lot.

The property, which is owned by Judith and Larry McDowell, is vacant and has fallen into disrepair.

The property owners at 4144 Coleridge will ask the Building and Standards Commission tonight for an extension of time to demolish or repair the “dangerous” garage on their lot.

The BSC ruled in July that the McDowell’s had 60 days, or Sept. 15, to repair or demolish the garage.

Chief Building Official John Brown told InstantNewsWestU that the couple is asking to extend the time to January 2012 or until they can sell the lot, whichever comes later.

The garage has collapsed along the east side wall and was deemed dangerous by the city because it met eight out of 11 definitions of a dangerous building.

The defects include:

–           A wall or other vertical member that lists, leans or buckles to such an extent that a plumbline passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle third of its base

–          There is, exclusive of the foundation, 33 percent or more of damage or deterioration, of the supporting member or members or 50 percent or more damage or deterioration of the non-supporting enclosing or outside walls or coverings

–          There is an improperly distributed load upon the floor or roof, or there is an overloaded floor or roof, or there is a floor with insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purposes used

–          There is a damage by fire, wind or other causes so as to be dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or people of the city

–          There are light, air or sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings occupying the premises

–          There are fire hazards

–          In the case of an unoccupied building, it is capable of being entered through unlocked doors or unsecured openings

–          There are two or more violations of any provisions of this chapter or of other applicable regulations, or there is a single violation which poses an imminent threat to life or property

The garage is considered old stock housing and is required by city code to have at least a one car garage or a semi-enclosed garage.

Brown told the commission in July that the garage is not visible from the street, but he was able to see the condition of the garage from a neighbor’s property.

Brown did not have permission from the McDowells to go onto the property, he said.

“It just really has collapsed,” Brown said about the garage.

Harrison Vickers, an attorney who represents the McDowells, said he doesn’t think the garage is dangerous.

“I think this thing is grossly overstated,” he said. “It’s practically impossible to see that house. Who’s it dangerous too?”

Vickers said he didn’t know how long the house had been vacant but it had been “quite a while.”

He said the house is for sale and the McDowells shouldn’t have to pay to rebuild a garage.

Vickers said he didn’t understand how the BSC could rule on the outcome of the garage when city staff had not been onto the property to inspect the garage.

The commission said they would be willing to postpone their decision if the McDowells allowed the city to go look at the garage.

Brown said he would like to inspect the house as well if the McDowells gave the city permission to go onto their property.

“It’s not my house,” Vickers said. “I’d be happy to ask.”

The BSC took a break while Vickers made a call to his client, but when he returned he said that the McDowells could not agree to let the city go onto their property.

Vickers said it was not a surprise that the McDowells did not want the city on their property because “they have been under constant scrutiny.”

The McDowell’s garage was brought before the BSC in August 2008 because it was in violation of a roof covering. The commission directed the property owners to repair or demolish the garage.

The BSC will meet at 6 p.m. in the Bill Watson conference room of city hall, 3800 University Blvd.

To view tonight’s agenda, click here.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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