Aspen Heights Violates Code Again

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COLUMBIA - An apartment at Aspen Heights was still not up to code during a follow-up inspection 12 days after it was originally cited.

Building inspector Dan Vande Voorde and building and site development manager Shane Creech cited the apartment for failing to maintain a temperature of 65 degrees. Section 602.3 of the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code requires all habitable rooms to maintain a temperature of 65 degrees. The dwelling only reached 53 degrees, a whole 12 degrees below the required temperature, during the inspection on Feb. 26.

City inspectors originally cited the apartment on Feb. 14 for failing to reach the required temperature. The city issued an citation to Aspen Heights after the inspection, stating a solution must be put in place by Feb. 21 to return the apartment to code.

Lease guarantor of the apartment Kenny Thornton said Aspen Heights installed fiber glass duct board into the upstairs vents in the house before Feb. 21. Thornton said the temperature in the house was not rising, so he asked the city to do a follow-up inspection.

After the apartment violated code during the follow-up inspection, building regulations supervisor Phil Teeple issued an order to Aspen Heights to install temporary heat in the apartment. Creech said the heat will likely come in the form of a space heater. The order also states that Aspen Heights has 14 days to install a permanent heating solution.

Teeple also filed a probable cause statement with the city prosecutor for violation of city ordinance. Creech said the city prosecutor will determine whether to take action against Aspen Heights after he reviews the statement.

The cited apartment is a Breckenridge model, a model found throughout the Aspen Heights complex.

"It stands to reason that all of those units are built the same with the same equipment, with the same configuration," Creech said. "It does stand to reason that there will be similar problems in those units throughout the complex. I'm hopeful that on this particular unit we find a solution and then it comes down to more how are we going to implement that solution throughout?"

He said that it is ultimately up to Aspen Heights to provide a complex-wide solution, and the city can only enforce the code in apartments that tenants request inspected.

Creech said that as temperatures outside warm up though, temperatures inside will rise as well so it will become difficult to determine if a solution has been found. He hopes to find a solution now so inspectors will not be spending time at Aspen Heights dealing with this issue next winter.

Aspen Heights resident Amanda Gross said Vande Voorde and Teeple inspected her apartment on Wednesday as well, and her apartment also failed to reach the required 65 degrees. Due to the closure of city offices Wednesday morning, Creech could not confirm if paperwork had been completed and/or filed yet concerning her apartment.