Repair or vacate – city issues orders

By Stefanie Donahue

Owners of three downtown buildings have been given orders to repair as a result of the city’s recent mandate to demolish the former Costa Azul restaurant.

In May, the city issued an order to demolish the building, located at 665 Peace Portal Drive, after finding it pest-ridden, structurally unsound and in decay. Since then, city staff say they’ve yet to hear from Seattle-based owner Guenter Mannhalt, who was required to submit a demolition permit application by June 4.

Due to its dilapidated condition, the building, as well as neighboring Blaine Bouquets at 633 Peace Portal Drive, owned by Colette Cloutier, and 625 Peace Portal Drive, owned by Jacaranda Land Corporation, have been put on notice to repair or vacate. The orders were released by the city on June 9 and require all three owners to submit a detailed plan to repair their buildings in compliance with the 2015 International Existing Building Code.

If the notices elicit no responses, the city will require the buildings be vacated.

The notices involved all three buildings because they share structural support. To maintain compliance with the international building code, Mannhalt’s building must be disconnected from 625 Peace Portal Drive and 633 Peace Portal Drive, according to the order.

“This building is dangerous and it is our professional opinion the entire building should not be occupied until adequate repairs are implemented under the review of a registered professional engineer,” read a report by Ashley & Vance Engineering Inc. in February 2017. In the event of an earthquake, their findings suggested “the possibility of the south and west walls pulling away, eventually collapsing and the foundation failing, leading to partial or
full building collapse.”

Leading up to the city’s orders, the owner of Blaine Bouquets submitted an engineering report for the property at 633 Peace Portal Drive. The report asserted that since it’s separate from Mannhalt’s property at 665 Peace Portal Drive, it should be addressed independently. The city later requested further analysis but after extending the deadline, they issued the order when no response was made.

“I have not been assured that if 665 collapsed the rest of the buildings wouldn’t also be pulled down with it,” said Blaine building official Tim Woodard. “In fact, our engineering consultant indicates that if not properly repaired, they could.”

Moving forward, the owners or their agents must submit a permit application and engineering plans to address repairs within 30 days of the notice; repairs must commence within 60 days.

“We would be very interested in seeing a plan to repair 633 and 625 while carefully demolishing 665,” said Blaine’s community development director Michael Jones. “If that can’t be done, we may be forced to proceed with action to demolish the entire structure.”

Code enforcement

Since 2016, 11 dilapidated structures have been demolished in Blaine.

The city continues to work with William Dobie, the owner of Country Enterprises, to resolve a number of code violations at 1355 F Street, 421 C Street, 2480 Bell Road and the Rocky Mountain Trading Post, according to a statement released June 9.

A battered garage located at 2480 Bell Road as well as a farm at 1355 F Street are slated for demolition on
Friday, June 16.

The hearing examiner has also ordered the demolition of the Rocky Mountain Trading building and a residence at 421 C Street. A residence at 2480 Bell Road has been ordered removed or demolished.

“While all of these properties have been cleaned and secured, [Dobie] has failed to meet the required deadlines to demolish or move the structures as conditioned by the Blaine hearing examiner,” read the statement.

“The city is considering moving forward with abatement action on these properties and placing a lien on the properties to recover expenses.”

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