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Committee continues review of housing ordinance

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Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Review of the proposed City of Worthington housing standards ordinance continued Wednesday night, with members of a special committee examining two more sections of the 22-page document.

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A majority of the 90-minute Housing Standards Committee meeting was devoted to an ordinance section pertaining to minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities. The section is comprised of eight parts, lettered A through H.

"No person shall occupy or let to another person for occupancy any rental unit, for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein, which does not comply with the following requirements ..." the section begins.

Language requiring "a stove or similar device, in working order and with all controls, for cooking food" was the first segment of the proposed ordinance to meet with significant scrutiny on Tuesday. Some discussion centered upon whether hot plates or 20-pound LP cylinders would be allowed under the proposals.

"I think we need to get very specific on this," committee member Marion Cashel said.

While microwaves would be permitted under the ordinance, other devices wouldn't be, council members agreed.

Some committee members asked if the ordinance would require property owners to provide stoves and refrigerators to tenants. Brad Chapulis, the city's manager of planning and economic development, said that wouldn't be the case.

A subsection pertaining to "flush water closets" generated talk but no revisions, while others pertaining to lavatory sinks and rooms with a bathtub or shower were accepted without debate. Language pertaining to means of egress was carefully examined.

Armand Eshleman, the city's building official, explained state building code uses the term "emergency escape and rescue opening" rather than "egress," and committee members discussed using the state term instead in the proposed ordinance. Further discussion encompassed about what the specific requirements of such an opening are.

"Most of what we're going over tonight is already in the building code," Eshleman commented.

A subsection on handrails will be reworded to clarify intent, committee members resolved.

The other section reviewed by the committee covered minimum standards for light and ventilation. A more precise definition of the term "ventilation" was suggested, while additional discussion on the requirement of either an exhaust fan or window in bathrooms brought many comments but no changes.

The committee is scheduled to meet again at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at City Hall. The group has set a goal of reviewing the ordinance completely by April, but is not working under a deadline.

A copy of the proposed ordinance is online at http://www.ci.worthington.mn.us/PDF/hsgstandardord.pdf.

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