may have been overcrowded
by Mary Youmans
The number of
people who lived in a Hacienda Gardens apartment that caught fire
Tuesday may exceed what is permitted by city ordinance.
Hacienda Gardens is a 200-unit complex owned by the Church of
Scientology. At the time of the Tuesday afternoon fire, officials
found 10 beds in a two-bedroom apartment in the complex.
Scientology officials say seven people were living in the dwelling, but
two recently move out. The apartment contains 800 square feet, but
its bedrooms total about 140 square feet.
city ordinance passed in 1984 states all hotels, motels, dormitories and
lodging houses must contain at least 50 square feet for each resident.
Manager Tony Shoemaker wrote a memo to commissioners saying he believes
the dwelling was overcrowded. Shoemaker met with building and fire
officials Thursday, and "... it is our feeling that this clearly
was a situation of overcrowding in that room.
"... it will be our intention to bring this before the Code
Enforcement Board as well as possibly taking other actions that may be
deemed appropriate," Shoemaker wrote.
Chief of Inspections Dave Christiansen declined comment Thursday on the
meeting or whether any codes were violated. Fire Chief Robert
Davidson said Deputy Fire Chief Dave Kinsey also declined comment
1984 ordinance sparked debated at the time it was passed. The city
contended it filled a gap in the city's housing code. The
ordinance also requires a minimum number of facilities such as toilets
and outlets in lodging houses and hotel rooms.
officials contended the ordinance was aimed at their church, which uses
the Fort Harrison Hotel building as an international headquarters for
church bought Hacienda Gardens, 551 Saturn Ave. N., in July for $4.6