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City Council


City Council Meeting Minutes

April 6, 2015


1.       Roll Call

Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m.  Voting and Seating Order: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe.  City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and City Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present.


2.       Pledge of Allegiance


3.       Approve Agenda

City Manager Trudgeon advised that staff was requesting removal of Consent Item 8.d until additional information was available for inclusion at a future meeting.


Etten moved, McGehee seconded approval of the agenda as amended.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


4.      Public Comment

Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items.  No one appeared to speak. 


5.        Council Communications, Reports, and Announcements

Mayor Roe announced previews of Roseville park buildings would continue in April, with a preview at Rosebrook Park on April 22 and another preview at Oasis Park on April 23.  Mayor Roe noted that both of these free events would occur between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m., with refreshments and staff available.


Mayor Roe announced an upcoming volunteer opportunity to plant tree seedlings on April 18 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at Villa Park as part of the Natural Resources Restoration with the Park Renewal program.


Mayor Roe announced that the second Naturalization Ceremony, hosted by the Roseville Human Rights Commission and the District Court of Minnesota, as swearing in of new citizens at the Roseville Skating Center on April 15, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.


Mayor Roe announced that the Roseville Police and Fire Departments would be hosting a free, interactive educational opportunity for senior citizens on April 23, 2015 from Noon to 4:40 p.m. at the Lexington Avenue Fire Station.  Mayor Roe advised that appointments would be necessary, approximately twenty minutes each, with no cost for seniors to ensure they had optimal driving option.


Councilmember Laliberte noted that the City of Roseville had hosted the Ramsey County League of Local Governments most recent meeting at the Lexington Fire Station training room, focusing on railroad and pipeline safety issues.  Councilmember Laliberte thanked fire staff and administrative staff for their assistance in hosting the event.


Councilmember Laliberte announced that on April 23, 2015, there would be a kick-off at the City Hall from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. signifying Roseville as a Dementia Aware Community with City officials and Roseville leaders available, along with caregivers and others who will share how those dealing with dementia and how Roseville is helping to shift dementia awareness.


6.         Recognitions, Donations and Communications


a.            Recognize Human Rights Commission Essay Contest Winners

Mayor Roe recognized this annual essay contest, and introduced Human Rights Commission Chair Wayne Groff and Member Mary Bachhuber.  Member Bachhuber advised that this year's essay question, created by the Roseville HRC and accepted state-wide to various schools and their students by the Minnesota Human Rights League involved examples of how language resulted in the violation of or protection of human rights and its effects.


Chair Groff introduced this year's three winners and invited them to read their essays aloud: First Place: Elite Thor, 7th grade, Roseville Area Middle School (RAMS), Instructor Mr. Jeff Bibeau; Second Place: Elizabeth Hansel, 8th grade, RAMS, Instructor Ms. Crystal Archer; and Third Place: Julia Brand, 8th grade, RAMS, Instructor Mr. Lee Thao.


Mayor Roe congratulated students, recognized RAMS instructor Jeff Bibeau in tonight's audience, and thanked all involved instructors for their participation in this annual event.


b.            Recognition of Commissioners for their Service to the City of Roseville

Mayor Roe recognized three of the outgoing commissioners present tonight and called them forward to formally receive their certificates of appreciation.


Mayor Roe thanked Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commissioner Joan Felice for her community service on the Commission.


Ms. Felice stated that she had learned a lot, and had found it great opportunity and expressed her favorable impression with City staff and their roles in the community.


Mayor Roe thanked Planning Commissioner John Gisselquist for his community service on the Commission and Variance Board, most recently as Chair of the Commission.


Mr. Gisselquist thanked staff and the community for this wonderful learning experience, and encouraged friends to participate in an advisory commission as well; and expressed his interest in serving again in the future.


Mayor Roe thanked Ethics Commissioner Nancy O'Brien for her community service on the Commission.


Ms. O'Brien echoed the comments previously stated, and also encouraged citizens to with and be active in learning more about their community.


Mayor Roe mentioned the other outgoing commissioners unable to attend tonight's meeting, and thanked them all, expressing the City Council's hope that they would continue to volunteer in the community in other capacities.


c.            Proclaim Arbor Day

Mayor Roe read a proclamation declaring April 24, 2015 as Arbor Day in the City of Roseville, encouraging citizens to care for and plant trees and plants thereby increasing the economic vitality, beauty and property values of the community.


Etten moved, Laliberte seconded, proclaimed April 24, 2015 at Arbor Day in the City of Roseville.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


7.       Approve Minutes


8.       Approve Consent Agenda

At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed those items being considered under the Consent Agenda; and as detailed in specific Requests for Council Action (RCA) and related attachments, dated April 6, 2015.


a.            Approve Payments

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of the following claims and payments as presented and detailed.


ACH Payments


76899 - 77101





                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


b.            Approve Business and Other Licenses and Permits

At the request of Councilmember Willmus, City Manager Trudgeon corrected the location of the sale of fireworks by Renaissance Fireworks, Inc. at Roseville Center, not Rosedale Center, as erroneously listed in the RCA.


Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval/renewal of business and other licenses and permits for terms as noted.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


c.            Approve General Purchases and Sale of Surplus Items in Excess of $5,000

Mayor Roe asked staff to provide the actual amount of the expenditure rather than just the annual contracted amount as applicable, to allow a snapshot of how expenses are tracking relative to the budget.  While City Manager Trudgeon noted that the attached CIP compared that information, Mayor Roe asked that staff also provide if for the budgeted expenses.


Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of general purchases and contracts for services, and where applicable, trade-in/sale of surplus equipment as noted in the RCA and Attachment A entitled, "2015 Capital Improvement Plan Summary," updated March 31, 2015.


                        Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


d.            Accept Roseville Firefighters' Relief Association Bylaw

As previously noted, this item will be brought forward as a future agenda item.


e.            Approve July 4th Fireworks Display Agreement

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of an agreement between the City of Roseville and Pyrotechnic Display (Attachment A) to perform the 2015 July 4th fireworks display; and authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to execute documents, in an amount not to exceed $13,000.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


f.             Approve Dale Street Purchase Agreement

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, adopted Resolution No. 11215 (Attachment A) entitled, "Resolution Approving the Purchase of Certain Land by the City of Roseville;" entering into a Purchase Agreement (Attachment B) with the Roseville Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) for the HRA-owned land in the Dale Street Fire Station Redevelopment Project area and perform necessary actions to meet the City's obligations identified in the executed Purchase Agreement.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


9.            Consider Items Removed from Consent


10.         General Ordinances for Adoption


11.         Presentations


a.            Roseville Visitor's Association (RVA) Update

Mayor Roe welcomed RVA Chief Executive Officer Julie Wearn who provided a summary annual report for 2014.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Wearn explained in more detail about the intended use of the RVA Reserve Fund to help target some future ideas and investments to further promote the community.  Ms. Wearn noted her recent attendance at financial conference of the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits and discussion on the use of reserve policies.  Ms. Wearn advised that the RVA was seeking to work with the Community Development and Parks & Recreation Departments to fund a study to place signage, particularly around Langton Lake; as well as connecting pedestrian-friendly and green event space with shopping in the community.  Ms. Wearn recognized that there were stipulations on how those reserve funds would be used, who made the decisions to do so, and how expenditures were governed. 


City Manager Trudgeon mentioned the RVA coupon book and a personal anecdote providing testament about how well it worked and how well-used it was.


Councilmember Willmus suggested that the RVA link a QR code to the coupon book for use by associations (e.g. youth tournaments) to copy onto their material, which was duly noted by Ms. Wearn.


For the benefit of City Council colleagues, Mayor Roe noted that RVA reserves are collected tax dollars, and under certain limitations for their use based on City Policy and State Law.  Mayor Roe assured colleagues and residents that, as he and City Manager Trudgeon both served on the RVA Board, all decision-making would be done cognizant of limitations while maximizing the return on tax revenues to optimize their use.


12.         Public Hearings


a.            Consider the Transfer of On-Sale and Sunday Intoxicating Liquor Licenses to CSM Hotel Management, LLC (Courtyard by Marriott Roseville)

Finance Director Chris Miller briefly summarized this request, as detailed in the RCA dated April 6, 2015.


Mayor Roe opened the public hearing at approximately 6:55 p.m. for the purpose of considering the Transfer of On-Sale and Sunday Intoxicating Liquor Licenses to CSM Hotel Management, LLC (Courtyard by Marriott Roseville)


Mayor Roe closed the public hearing at approximately 6:56 p.m., with no one appearing for or against.


13.         Budget Items


14.         Business Items (Action Items)


a.            Approve/DENY the Transfer of On-Sale and Sunday Intoxicating Liquor Licenses to CSM Hotel Management, LLC (Courtyard by Marriott Roseville)

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the transfer of the On-Sale and Sunday Liquor Licenses to CSM Hotel Management, LLC for the remainder of the 2015 calendar year; pending successful completion of background investigations.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Finance Director Miller assured that staff would send out information on manager/server training requirements to the new management team, as done for any new entity.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


15.         Business Items - Presentations/Discussions

At the request of Mayor Roe, City Attorney Gaughan provided a brief description of the role of the City Council in their capacity as Board of Adjustments and Appeals, in accordance with City Code Chapter 908, Rental Licensing and Process.  Mr. Gaughan noted that this provided that property owners governed under that provision could appeal any staff decisions, with those appeals subsequently heard by the Board of Appeals.  Mr. Gaughan clarified that this is not a legislative process or action, but was quasi-judicial in nature and a process similar to that of a court: with a hearing of evidence and testimony from the complaining property owners as well as staff, at which time the Board would take the issue under advisement and render a decision regarding staff's decision.


City Attorney Gaughan stated that he anticipated and it would be appropriate for any decision of the Board to be memorialized in a resolution, showing the specific findings of fact supporting that decision; with the City Attorney's office and staff
preparing a draft resolution for action by the Board at a future meeting on the
Consent Agenda for formal adoption.  Mr. Gaughan recommended this process as
the appropriate course of action for the Board, at which time the ordinance
would then be delivered to the property owner.


City Attorney Gaughan reviewed the proscribed protocol for tonight's Board of Adjustments and Appeals to begin with a staff summary presentation of their actions for the Board, followed by the property owner's appeal rationale for appealing this administrative action; at which time the Board could move a resolution denying or affirming the appeal, and orally state their findings of fact supporting that decision, at which time the resolution would be formally prepared for subsequent review and ratification by the body.


At the request of Mayor Roe, City Attorney Gaughan confirmed that the City Council should recess and convene as the Board.


Laliberte moved, Etten seconded, recessing the City Council meeting at approximately 7:02 p.m. and convening as the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


Board of Adjustments and Appeals for the City of Roseville

Chair Roe reiterated the procedure as noted by City Attorney Gaughan in considering the appeal of administrative action as submitted by G & G Management, owner of twelve multi-family residential rental properties in Roseville.


Roseville City staff was represented by Codes Coordinator Don Munson and Code Compliance Officer/Inspector David England.

As detailed in the Request for Council Action (RCA) dated April 6, 2015, Mr. Munson advised that the rental inspections for all twelve buildings had been performed between October 6 and 10, 2014.  Mr. Munson noted that all 158 multi-family apartment buildings in Roseville had been inspected in the same manner and using the same criteria.  Of those 158 buildings, Mr. Munson reported that thirty had been issued 'D' licenses and advised of the appeal process of that determination, with this
appeal the only one received to-date.


At the request of Board Member Willmus, Mr. Munson confirmed that all twelve buildings had received "D" due to multiple violations; and reported on various meetings held to-date between staff and G & G Management.  Mr. Munson noted that this appeal disputed thirteen points, eight main ones, based on staff's license calculations; and provided staff's responses to those points as detailed in the RCA and in response to the G & G Management letter (Attachment B submittals).


At the request of Board Member McGehee, Mr. Munson clarified that schedule for the first cycle of inspections conducted in October, with the next cycle scheduled for May, accomplishing a six month time period as proscribed by City Code.


Board Member Laliberte noted the revisions recently made to the Renal Licensing Ordinance to address outdoor issues and scheduling their compliance based on weather and timing.


Mr. Munson advised that revisions to the ordinance provided that those issues are addressed through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the property owner and City staff, and would be taken into consideration in all inspection and/or renewal cycles.  Specifically related to the G & G Management properties, Mr. Munson advised that if the property owner agrees, through an MOU, to correct those outside and/or long-term weather-related issues and agrees to repair those items on a set schedule that if agreeable to the City, those items would then be removed from the next inspection as far as them being calculated in the next inspection renewal cycle.  Mr. Munson noted that this could provide a better chance for them to receive a grade on their properties by ensuring their compliance, particularly for those more expensive, long-term or outside items, as mutually agreed to.


Board Member McGehee noted a question she'd received from a resident regarding the property behind and lack of clarity as to whether the City had right-of-way and if so, how staff made a delineation on property lines and areas of responsibility.


Mr. Munson clarified that there was a dirt pathway behind the Dairy Queen where litter blows between properties, with the same issues found every spring after the snow melts.  Mr. Munson advised that staff had repeatedly contacted both the adjacent shopping center and G & G Management after snowfall to clean- up that area, and both parties had always been responsive to that request.  Mr. Munson confirmed that a similar letter was currently being prepared for distribution by staff for mailing later this week.  However, Mr. Munson further clarified that the rental license inspection report stated that there was a lot of litter on the G & G Management site, also a separate issue they had been asked to address repeatedly for a number of years, and directly attributable to their site with that litter blowing into the wooded area.


Mr. Munson advised that, while the City may have an easement in that area, the litter issue blowing into the woods were owned by the shopping center and G&G.


Chair Roe noted that the litter in that area was attributable to the G & G site itself, and the litter and debris on the path may or may not be relevant to the license type determination only to the extent it was considered a violation at the original inspection.


Mayor Roe sought further clarification on the role of the Board from City Attorney Gaughan.


City Attorney Gaughan noted that the Board had some flexibility assuming there was sufficient evidence to support their conclusion as the validity of the grading and specific reasons for that particular grade.  Mr. Gaughan noted that another way to make a conclusion was by determining if the evidence supported the grade and whether staff's process and rationale in determining that grade was accurate or inaccurate based on their calculations.  Mr. Gaughan advised that the Board could ask staff to recalculate if they found inaccuracies or discrepancies.  However, at the end of the day, no matter what the Board concluded, Mr. Gaughan noted that even though the Board had flexibility on its conclusion as long as their findings were supported by evidence and clearly announced, and articulated as the basis for their conclusion.  If the Board chose that level of minute detail for every alleged violation, Mr. Gaughan advised that they could do so, as long as they could justify their conclusion with specific reasons.


Chair Roe invited the Appealing Party to present their case at this time.


Mr. Ramesh Gupta, Off-Site Manager and Ms. Nidhi Joshi, On-Site Manager of G&G Management represented the property owner.

Citing his 35 years of experience, since 1978, as a mechanical engineer by trade with those years based in the construction industry, building facilities and their maintenance, Mr. Gupta noted his world-wide familiarity with building codes and their requirements.  Mr. Gupta stated that G & G Management had always respected and supported staff coming into their properties to advise of any infractions, and thanked staff for their attention to those details that their staff was not aware of or had not observed themselves in their daily routine.  Mr. Gupta thanked the Board for this opportunity to provide their point of view, and expressed appreciation for Mr. Munson and Mr. Englund's time and work; and even though they disagreed with all of their findings, stated that staff had been encouraging in working with them.


Mr. Gupta distributed booklets as bench handouts, attached hereto and made a part hereof, consisting of their written Letter of Appeal dated February 9, 2015 and listed violations for each of the twelve properties and included in the RCA as Attachment B. Mr. Gupta asked the Board's understanding of any language difficulties during his presentation and noted their properties include over 500 residents, and over 200 children, with the majority of their tenants recently immigrated to the United States and also having difficulty communicating in English (e.g. Karen residents), often using their young children as translators.


Mr. Gupta referenced the list of common violations provided before the actual inspection by staff, noting that the list did not provide an inclusive list of some of the items brought up at the inspection, thereby creating some confusion and the inability of the property owner to be in compliance. 


Due to the culture of many of the immigrants renting property from G & G Management, Mr. Gupta noted that they found it difficult to adjust to and understand the U. S. way of living from how to operate appliance, how to use toilets, and other daily routine things familiar to others.  Mr. Gupta advised that their staff continued to meet and work with the tenants to whom they provided housing, and printed informational and educational flyers for their use in their specific language.  In spite of that, Mr. Gupta noted that adjustments were still difficult as tenants, used to outdoor living, didn't respect not spitting in building common areas or apartments, didn't understand the need for or meaning of window blinds, and often accessed the outdoors through their windows on lower level units by breaking screens out, as well as breaking or unlocking doors. 


After receiving the preliminary checklist from staff, Mr. Gupta advised that his staff had re-inspected their buildings five times to ensure they were in compliance, and had hired various contractors to go through each and every item inside and outside units to make sure items were taken care of, proven by the amount of funds spent in doing so.  As an example, Mr. Gupta noted that they had hired an electrician specifically to test, fix or replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a very expensive project, but still unfamiliar to tenants who don't understand their function, causing them to disconnect them when activated from cooking or unplugging C. O. detectors to charge cell phones and then not
plugging them back in.


Mr. Gupta questioned at what point that became the responsibility of the owner versus the tenant, without being seen as harassing tenants repeatedly to make sure things are working.  Mr. Gupta stated that management had attempted to communicate with these low income tenants in their own language, most of who were on state or federal funding, and not valuing the things given to them.


Mr. Gupta stated he was unaware of anything ever left undone when reported by a tenant or City staff, and referenced visits from the Fire Marshal who had inspected their building twice and gave it his approval on his last visit. (e.g. fire doors).  Mr. Gupta questioned the importance of whether outlets were painted or not and how that became a fire hazard and counted as an infraction.  As far as implications about lead paint, Mr. Gupta opined that no one had used lead paint for the last 30-40 years, and the outlets were all functional. 


Specific to smoke detectors in each bedroom and also installed in hallways, Mr. Gupta referenced City Code (page 6) stating detectors needed to be located in the vicinity of bedrooms and in sleeping areas, while item #2 addressed sleeping areas other than bedrooms.  Mr. Gupta noted the difficulty in management knowing if a tenant had someone sleeping in the living room.  Over the last ten years with Ms. Joshi managing the buildings on-site, Mr. Gupta questioned how their diligence in managing the buildings.  Mr. Gupta opined that there were so many small and petty items mentioned and repeated in the list of violations, he questioned how the Board of anyone in their right minds could determine that small and large items carried the same weight, further opining that it didn't make sense nor did it mean anything to him if there was differentiation between those large and small items.


Mr. Gupta referenced G & G Management's responses to staff's list of violations in their bench handout.  Mr. Gupta further referenced the environmental steps taken by their firm in reducing water consumption and energy efficiencies as listed in their submittal (page 3), spending considerable money to do so, but not rewarded in the licensing program by the City, which he thought should be included.


Mr. Gupta stated that his firm had done anything and everything brought to their attention, and since the inspection report have completed or are in the process of implementing and/or correcting them, estimating that 70-80% of them had been completed.  Noting those items mentioned earlier that were outside, Mr. Gupta stated that he had asked to assist them with landscaping ideas behind the building where children were playing continuously.  Mr. Gupta noted that this was in part due to the City not providing a place for children to play in this area, therefore, causing them to have to play on their grounds, and anything installed would be strewn all over before long.  Mr. Gupta sought guidance for what to do to provide space for children to play so they don't destroy their beautiful lawn.


Ms. Joshi reviewed the list of most common violations provided prior to the inspection by staff, and reiterated that most of the violations addressed by staff during the actual inspection itself were not included on the preliminary list.  Ms. Joshi advised that their interpretation of this first inspection round was that it would be mostly for educational purposes for property owners, and it had been their understanding that they would not be fined due to that educational nature of the inspection, but simply shown how things were found and areas to be improved.  Ms. Joshi opined that, personally, she found few violations, and most of the violations mentioned repeatedly and questioned the need to mention them more than once.  Ms. Joshi reviewed some of the items that were being corrected (e.g. flexible drain connectors versus rubber) in each building, but their lack of information on what the City was counting and what they were not counting, or which items were the most dangerous or needing immediate attention or those that could be corrected over time.


Specific to the door locks, Ms. Joshi reported that the back door to their office was intentionally left unlocked during business hours for tenants to access the office; and noted that the inspection report mentioned that the door lock was not working, but assured the Board that she locked it before leaving for the day, and the door at the 195 building was fine, and had been left intentionally unlocked for the last ten years, and she did not feel should be listed as a violation.


Regarding beds blocking living room windows, Ms. Joshi advised that tenants had been given notice to not block windows; and Mr. Gupta advised that tenants had not been previously aware to not block egress windows.


Ms. Joshi reported that those issues had now been corrected and that staff had been advised of that fact after G & G received this letter, again noting that their understanding was that the first round of inspections was only to be educational in nature.  Ms. Joshi opined that it seemed that the numerous and repeat violations listed in the inspection report was simply to make sure G & G Management had received a 'D" license, even though they were correcting violations for all units and making corrections even though tenants were not always cooperative.


Regarding exterior building lights now working, Ms. Joshi reported that 90% are now working, leaving only two with electrical problems.  Ms. Joshi noted that a light on the 221 building was not working, and questioned the rationale for this violation.  However, Ms. Joshi opined that if you go through all twelve building reports, violations appeared to be copied and pasted from one report to another report, with the last four points exactly the same for all twelve buildings, even though not listed on the preliminary list of common violations provided by staff.


Mr. Gupta noted that, even though smoke detectors not located in all bedrooms were listed as a violation of City Code, in his call to the State, he was advised that the State did not require that, and this was apparently only an interpretation of that code by City staff in stating it as a requirement.  Even though not agreeing with that violation, Mr. Gupta advised that they had completed 60% of the installations, and offered that whatever requirements the City outlined, they would comply with, whether it made sense to G & G Management or not, it was up to the City to decide.


Ms. Joshi noted that these buildings were all older.


Mr. Gupta concurred, opining that due to their age, they should have received grandfather status in the first place.  Mr. Gupta noted that tenants often didn't report minor problems, and sometimes tenants also put extra beds for people in a living room; but often their manager didn't know and therefore, could not check out such a violation.


Mr. Gupta advised that to-date, their firm had not said 'no" to anything, whether required by staff, the Fire Marshal or Fire Inspector; and remained willing to do it, and would continue to do so, with the exception of the outdoor work that could not have been accomplished over the last six months since the last inspection.  Mr. Gupta advised that they had hired a full-time employee to take care of all garage issues, and City staff had been shown last Friday of what was being done, and they had received an "OK from City staff for that work.


Ms. Joshi stated it was their intent to fix everything outlined in the violations, and even though the list of violations listed the 1740 building roof as not good and they were not clear about the meaning of the violation, it had been their impression that if they fixed it, it would no longer count as a violation.   Therefore, Ms. Joshi advised that they had the repairs made overnight by two guys who fixed it and then City staff inspected it and approved it, but it was still listed on the violations in the inspection report.


Ms. Joshi addressed the fryer vent being loose in the 221 building, which was fixed as soon as they got the note, but again it was still shown on the inspection report.  While recognizing that staff was following a process, Ms. Joshi reiterated that it was their intent to meet all the requirements and do everything required to maintain the buildings.  As the inspector pointed out, Ms. Joshi noted that there were a few things they'd missed, but with tenants living there, things happened as they tried to monitor 227 units with 500 plus tenants and 200 plus kids; and sometimes problems were reported by tenants and sometimes not.  However, Ms. Joshi assured the Board that as soon as a complaint was received, it was fixed, but she also didn't think it was acceptable for a tenant to have management in their building or unit every day.  Since a fair percentage of tenants don't speak English, Ms. Joshi opined that as long as their stove and refrigerator are working, they didn't care about other issues, but management tried to fix things even if they were tenant responsibilities.


Ms. Joshi opined that repeating violations and ignoring their intent to justify a "D" score was not right, referencing the energy saving efforts listed on page 3, and while not a part of the licensing program, she stated their disappointment in not receiving credit for them.


In conclusion, Ms. Joshi asked that the Board postpone this license review for six months, even though most things are done, but to allow them to complete outside items; and then having a subsequent inspection in the next few months, and then postponing the next inspection to next year for inside and outside, allowing them to be 100% ready.  Ms. Joshi stated that, if there were other things the City wanted them to do, they were willing to do so.


Mr. Gupta noted the listing of the banner on the building as a violation, that no one had pointed out previously as being illegal; and also noted one on the building across the street questioning if they had been cited as well.  Mr. Gupta further questioned how that was a health or safety issue, and how many of the petty violations listed could have been combined, and also how many of those were related to safety or health.  Mr. Gupta advised that his firm prided itself on keeping items legal and safe for their tenants, which was of utmost importance to them.  However, Mr. Gupta opined that City staff appeared to be concentrating on smaller, more petting items, even though that was apparently the rules they'd been given to follow.  Mr. Gupta further opined that the City needed to decide how much weight those petty items should carry, and the weight of the larger items, and the intent of management in their investment in properties to make sure they meet each and every code requirement.


In conclusion, Mr. Gupta asked that the City pay closer attention to those code requirements and hear their appeal to adjust their licensing score accordingly.


At the request of Board Member McGehee, Mr. Gupta estimated their immigrant tenant population at approximately 60% over the last 2-3 years, and most minorities with approximately 80% having difficulty speaking English, making it difficult to communicate and often using their young children to translate, making that communication even more difficult and inaccurate.


At the request of Board Member McGehee, Mr. Gupta responded that the litter behind their 1746 and 1735 buildings was often due to children seeking out the ice cream truck and accumulation of trash from that.  Mr. Gupta advised that his firm had spoken to the driver of the truck, but he had ignored their requests.


Ms. Joshi advised that their firm had five part-time caretakers and one full-time caretaker and attempted to keep things cleaned-up, but children were children.


Mr. Gupta agreed that they had a lot of staff, and hired outside contractors as needed. Mr. Gupta noted that, during the inspection, they hired twenty contractors at one time to complete the work.


At the request of Board Member Willmus, Mr. Gupta stated that, while having done many courses and holding a real estate broker license requiring 30 hours of annual continuing education, he not none of his staff had been certified or received accreditation in property management.


Mayor Roe thanked Mr. Gupta and Ms. Joshi for presenting their case, letting them know they had done well in expressing themselves, and asked that they remain in case any questions or need for additional information should arise.


Chair Roe asked staff to return to respond to some of the issues brought up by the appellant.


Inspection timing and repairs made while on site or shortly thereafter, and how staff interpreted that, and whether the inspection represented a snapshot in time, and did not make a determination if something was or was not fixed immediately

 Mr. Munson responded that when staff inspected something, even if a property owner was fixing the item, it was still listed as a violation.  Mr. Munson clarified that the idea was that property owners were to self-inspect the building and make a correction before the inspection occurred.


Other instances when repairs were made during inspection and calculated toward the grade

 Mr. Englund responded that every property was inspected using the same criteria, and many of those violations were not uncommon and were often repetitive among buildings, and still calculated in the grade.


Listing violations multiple times

Mr. Englund advised that each violation of a certain category type was counted once in the calculation, but listed multiple times to allow the management to find each violation and correct them each once they received the inspection notice, meant as a means to educate them on expectations.  Mr. Englund clarified that even if a violation was listed three times and needed to be corrected for all three, it only counted as one violation with each instance expected to be corrected upon re-inspection.


Door locks, whether left unlocked or broken

Mr. Englund responded that if a door was intended to be locked with a key, and found not to be, a property owner was given a violation.


Mr. Munson concurred, noting with Mr. Englund that, if the door was left unlocked to be accessed, it could still show as a violation.


How grandfathering was factored in if at all in Chapter 906, Property Maintenance Code (e.g. detectors in bedrooms)

 Mr. Munson advised that, regardless of a building's age, and potentially different or contradictory requirements in various codes, smoke detectors were required by the City in bedrooms and hallways.  Mr. Munson advised that a determination had been made by City staff cooperatively with the Fire Marshal that this was going to be required, even though that determination was not officially made until after the preliminary list of items was presented to property owners in advance of the initial inspection.  Mr. Munson stated part of staff's rationale was that often with a multi-family community, and especially those with immigrant populations, when they cooked and the detectors in hallways were set off, they disconnected or removed them creating a situation where there was now no smoke detector in the entire unit or building.  Therefore, Mr. Munson advised that, staff determined that, in Roseville, detectors should be located in bedrooms also to provide more protection for tenants. 


Since that item had not been included in the preliminary inspection list sent by staff, Mr. Munson advised if it were removed from this appellant's list of violations and their calculations, the properties would still end up with a 'D" grade.


A property may still have some violations and not be at 100% or meet every single requirement across the board


Mr. Munson responded that only a percentage of units were inspected from the total number available; and therefore could still have violations.  Mr. Munson clarified that the calculations were set by ordinance, not subjectively by staff.  At the request of Chair Roe, Mr. Munson provided an example of those calculations.


At the request of Board Member Laliberte, Mr. Englund and Mr. Munson advised that the outside banners mentioned by the appellant had been listed as a violation for building 175, and had been noticed to the tenant before the rental licensing inspections, and as part of the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) inspections as a violation.  At the request of Board Member Laliberte, Mr. Munson clarified that removing that one violation would also not change the score of the building from a grade "D."


In terms of the process used for this first round of inspections, Chair Roe stated that it was his understanding that it was for ranking buildings for licensing purposes, and no payment or inspection fee would be assigned, and taken care of during subsequent inspections.


Mr. Munson responded that this was not accurate, and even though the first round of inspections was intended to be educational, fees would be required to cover the cost of the program.


At the request of Chair Roe as to whether the appellant had paid their fee, Mr. Munson responded that they had done so and had paid it promptly.


Chair Roe asked if, on the next renewal inspection round based on those inspection results, the appellant could improve the grade of their building(s) and therefore reduce the rental licensing fee as well as frequency of subsequent inspections.


Mr. Munson responded that the first round of inspections had been conducted in 2014 and rental licensing fees were payable by January 1, 2015.  If a property was designated as a "D" category property, Mr. Munson advised that at the time of the renewal inspection in six months and second fee due, at that time if fewer
violations were found, as staff anticipated to occur, the property would be deemed as improved and not require as frequent of inspections and payments would be based on the new grade.


Board Member McGehee addressed the door locks, specifically the one mentioned as an access point for tenants; and questioned if staff evaluated unit locks as well as exterior building locks.


Mr. Munson responded that any locks installed on a building were inspected and intended to be functional, whether on doors or windows.


Board Member McGehee questioned how a determination was made on locks intended to allow access by children going in and out of their units as standard operating practice by tenants.


Mr. Munson responded that this was not considered a violation on individual unit doors, only in common areas.


Chair Roe asked, for the benefit of the public and refresher for the Board, that staff review how their determination was made, the number of units inspected and type and range of violations that could place a property in the "D" category.


Mr. Englund used the 175 building as an example, noting twenty violations noted, with a description of each violation and their specific location shown on the back.  Mr. Englund reiterated that even when multiple occasions were found (e.g. non-approved drain connections) they were not counted separately as a violation.  However, Mr. Englund noted that the building had 5 of the 17 units inspected on that one property, and needed three or less violations to receive an A license, but actually had twenty violations, which was seven times the number allowed.  Mr. Englund further reiterated that the building would have been categorized at other than a "D" building if there had been fewer than eight violations noted.


At the request of Chair Roe for that specific building, Mr. Englund clarified that five units were inspected plus the common area for that building and calculations were based on that number of units.



Member Willmus moved, Member Etten seconded, DENIAL of the appeal by G & G Management LLC dated February 9, 2015, and require renewal inspections and payment of fees remaining at the six month interval as required in the ordinance based on the license type assigned to each of the 12 buildings based on the following findings:

·         Member Willmus noted that owners were notified in advance of the inspection, with most issues pointed out in advance of the inspection; and each building was evaluated on its own merits and within the merits of the law and ordinance.


·         Member Etten noted that even removing smaller items, there were clear code violations.


·         Member Etten, as a resident in this neighborhood, noted his observation of trash frequently and repeatedly blowing along the frontage road from dumpsters on these properties, and trash remaining on site long-term, as well as having it addressed during past NEP inspections.  Member Etten stated that clean-up efforts are not occurring right away or are not happening at all.  Member Etten opined that this is a clear opportunity for management to make improvements, and thereby improving their ratings and subsequent fees.


Member McGehee expressed her ambivalence to the motion, opining there were some things, like acknowledging water and energy savings efforts that could be taken advantage of in the rental licensing inspection program.  Member McGehee expressed appreciation to the property owner for implementing those efforts. 


Member McGehee stated that this was a unique property and population served in Roseville, learning to make its way through a unique set of problems, as recognized by staff in a variety of areas with attempts made to address those issues.  Member McGehee recognized the large number of children, and the need to provide an appropriate and adequate space for them to play; and if not available, something to be considered by the City in setting its own regulations in providing affordable, reasonable housing in Roseville.


While there were a number of smaller violations outside smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for which many apartment owners also had violations, Member McGehee opined that many of the violations did not impact the health, safety and welfare of residents to the same degree as those, and asked that more findings be presented before she could make a decision, even though she recognized there was work remaining to be accomplished at these properties.


Member Laliberte agreed with the denial of the appeal, and noted the benefit o for the property owner to take advantage of recent ordinance revisions for those items not yet accomplished due to winter weather and/or snow cover, and asked that those items be included in the list of findings as remaining undone. 


Member Laliberte noted several items that had been communicated several times and upfront to the property owner in advance of the inspections; and reiterated that every inspection had used the same criteria and held to the same standards, therefore making her uncomfortable making any exceptions, with thirty buildings in the City graded as "D" properties beyond just this company. 


Chair Roe expressed his appreciation that the same standard had applied to all properties, while acknowledging the unique challenges in managing properties for a different culture or population being served, even though those issues remained and needed to be dealt with. 


Chair Roe noted that the City Council, staff and advisory commissions were already working on one of the City Council's strategic priorities to address issues in SE Roseville and work with stakeholders in that area, with this serving as a key example of the need to better educate tenants and provide resources to managers to assist them as well.  Chair Roe advised that the efforts of the Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and creation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and revised ordinance language to exclude some items with an agreed-upon timeframe should help.


Chair Roe expressed appreciation for the work already accomplished by the property owner in this case, and opined they would likely help them to achieve an improved rating at the next inspection.  Chair Roe expressed appreciation to staff for confirming that the inspection was a snapshot in time and applied consistently to all properties inspected in Roseville, proving the consistency used during this initial inspection and across all properties.  Chair Roe noted that the program was designed to help properties improve their grades over time.


Member McGehee stated that she couldn't vote other than to deny this appeal as the program had been applied consistently.  However, Member McGehee wanted to go on record that the City Council and rental licensing program should acknowledge water and energy efficiencies such as done by this property owner above and beyond what was required, and should be part of the program in the future. 


Member McGehee acknowledged the unique population served and challenges it created, and in future consideration for the future of SE Roseville, expressed her hope that some space for children could also be provided nearby as well as language assistance for tenants.  However, on the first inspection, Member McGehee stated that she could not treat this property differently than the other thirty properties in the same fix or treat them differently since staff had followed the set rules laid out for them to follow.


Member Etten asked the City Attorney the process moving forward for an MOU for some of the outdoor violations, and what would be needed from this body as part of this or a separate action.


City Attorney Gaughan clarified that the MOU process and opportunities it provided were already in place as part of the recent ordinance amendments adopted for this and all other properties, and would be used to clear up those outstanding situations.  Mr. Gaughan clarified that the focus tonight was not going forward, but to address this appeal from a property classification from December and whether or not that classification made by staff was appropriate.


Member Etten expressed appreciation to G & G Management for their hard work to meet expectations, which was the goal of the whole program.  While appreciating the water consumption and energy savings efforts of the property owner as well, Member Etten opined that this was for the benefit of owners and their tenants, and not part of this process being reviewed, perhaps for the HRA as a process upgrade, but not part of the inspection program itself.


Specific to a space for children to play, Member Etten noted the location of Tamarack Park only 2-3 blocks away, and currently heavily used by the Karen community, as well as many other public properties throughout the City of Roseville available for children playing along with other open spaces.  Member Etten noted one new proposal in Southeast Roseville that offered a children's play space, and suggested the property owner consult with the City's Park & Recreation Department for their guidance for them as well to provide a play and/or garden space on their property rather than trying to keep green grass growing where children were playing.  Member Etten noted there were spaces available that could be turned over and still meet City Code to accomplish such a goal.


Chair Roe suggested considering energy savings and/or water consumption incentives as part of future amendments to the ordinance.


Since SE Roseville was an area so many were interested in working on, Member Laliberte, and recognizing the frequent infractions unique to this situation especially with detectors, she suggested working together to create some handbills or flyers and make them available to the Karen community alerting them to their purpose and their locations.


In an effort to ensure a clear record of findings for drafting the formal resolution, City Attorney Gaughan asked if the Board also wished one of their findings to find that City staff had used objective and quantifiable criteria and methodologies in categorizing these properties; with the Board responding affirmatively by consensus.


City Attorney Gaughan also asked the Board if another finding was that staff's written responses to the appealing party's written objections were found reasonable and prudent; with the Board responding affirmatively by consensus.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


Chair Roe directed staff and the City Attorney to articulate those findings in an a resolution for formal adoption on the Consent Agenda at the next available meeting.

For the benefit of the appellant, Chair Roe stated that the appeal had been denied, and any further legal remedy outside this body could be addressed through the court system.


Member Willmus moved, Member Laliberte seconded, adjournment of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals, and reconvening as the City Council.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.


Closed Session

Mayor Roe advised that, in accordance with Minnesota State Statute 13.D.05, subd. 3.c, the City Council could move to closed session to discuss potential property purchases or sales, in this instance to discuss the potential purchase of portions of HRA-owned properties at 934 - 950 Woodhill Drive and 2659 Victoria Street (former Owasso
School site).


Etten moved, Willmus seconded, moving to closed session to discuss the potential purchase of portions of HRA-owned properties at 934 - 950 Woodhill Drive and 2659 Victoria Street (former Owasso
School site).


Councilmember McGehee took issue with closing the meeting, opining that at this point with several potential options before the community, including an option not to purchase, she found that discussion more appropriate in a public realm before any potential purchase price or negotiation was taken.  For matters of transparency, Councilmember McGehee opined that this discussion should therefore be held in open session.


Mayor Roe agreed that such a discussion should be held in open session; however, he stated that this initial discussion required closed session until those parameters had been outlined for further consideration..


Councilmember Etten concurred, stating that until options were reviewed by the body, a decision whether to buy or sell could not be made.


Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe

Nays: None.



Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 8:36  p.m., moving to closed session.


Mayor Roe convened the City Council in Closed Executive Session at approximately 8:40 PM for the purpose of discussing potential property acquisitions at 934-950 Woodhill Drive and 2659 Victoria Street. In addition to the councilmembers, City Manager Trudgeon, City Attorney Gaughan, Park & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke, and Community Development Director Paul Bilotta were present during the Closed Executive Session.


Laliberte moved, Etten seconded, adjourning the Closed Executive Session and returning to Open Session at approximately 8:56 P.M.


Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe.

Nays: None


Mayor Roe reconvened the City Council in Open Session at approximately 8:58 P.M.

16.         City Manager Future Agenda Review


City Manager Trudgeon reviewed upcoming agenda items.


Laliberte moved, Willmus seconded, moving the May 11 Regular meeting to May 18.


Councilmember Laliberte indicated that she would be in Washington D.C. that week for a conference, and that, while Councilmember Etten could not attend on the 18th, as previously discussed, due to a work commitment, Councilmember Laliberte noted that such conflicts had been accommodated before, while she had not previously requested accommodation for an absence  by moving a meeting date.


Councilmember McGehee and Etten indicated that this meeting date decision had been made at the start of the year after the same discussion, and they did not see the need to change the date.


Mayor Roe inquired of Attorney Gaughan whether the motion before the council was, in effect, an attempt to reconsider a motion from earlier in the year, and thus out of order.


Attorney Gaughan opined that this type of action (setting meeting dates) was an action that the council had discretion to change during the course of the year. 


Mayor Roe moved adding another Regular Meeting on May 18, rather than moving the May 11th meeting to the 18th. Mayor Roe ruled the motion failed for lack of a second.


Roll Call (original Laliberte motion):

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte.

Nays: Etten, McGehee, and Roe.

Motion failed.


17.         Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings


18.         Adjourn

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 9:02 p.m.


                                    Roll Call

Ayes: Laliberte, McGehee, Willmus, Etten and Roe.

Nays: None.