City issues Asiana owners $10,000 in citations for structural, safety violations

The owners of the Asiana restaurant property face $10,000 in citations for safety and structural violations at 123 to 125 N. Market St. in Frederick. Staff file photo by Sam Yu

The owners of the old Asiana restaurant in downtown Frederick have less than three weeks to pay the city $10,000 — or else the city will see them in court.

The city on Friday issued 10 separate citations of $1,000 each to Julia and James Properties, owned by Myung and Duk Hee Ro, for structural and safety violations at the vacant restaurant and the apartments above, from 123 to 125 N. Market St.

The Ros have two options moving forward, according to the citations. They can pay the fines totaling $10,000 by March 27 or notify code enforcement in writing by March 22 that they choose to go to court and not pay the fines. At trial, the court could impose a fine of up to $2,000 on each violation, according to the citations.

If they do neither, the court will deem them liable for the fines, and the fines may be doubled, a judgment may be entered against them, or both, the citations state.

Each day the violations continue is a separate infraction, subject to an additional citation, the citations state.

The Ros did not return calls for comment Friday.

Mayor Randy McClement announced Friday that the city will hold a news conference at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom at City Hall to discuss the code violation process for vacant and blighted properties.

McClement hopes that the news conference will clear up misconceptions, said Nikki Bamonti, the mayor's executive assistant.

The city is issuing the citations after notifying the Ros on Jan. 6 that they had until March 6 to submit permits to fix structural and safety issues inside the building.

Zack Kershner, the city's director of public works, had said the city would watch to see if they were moving toward compliance, and then issue the citations based on their actions.

The owners did not move toward compliance, Bamonti said.

The restaurant has been vacant for more than 10 years.

The last few weeks, residents have pressured city officials to hold the owners accountable for their violations.

This past week, a group of residents and business owners organized a rally that is set to take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday outside the building.

The rally was organized in part by Ned Bond, who owns Da Black Cat a few doors down from the Asiana and frequently watches over the building and reports potential violations to city staff.

"If this is what it takes to get the city to move, is negative publicity, then so be it," Bond said.

Bond said he thought the citations and the news conference sound more like a public relations stunt than an actual fight toward compliance.

Bond said he hopes the city holds the owners to the fines, as it has previously issued violations and then canceled them when the owners eventually complied.

"Are they going to make this stick, to try to turn the building owners around? Or is this literally a PR event?" he said. "Only time will tell."

Bond realizes he is skeptical, but he said this has been a long time coming.

"It is long overdue," he said.

Follow Jen Bondeson on Twitter: @Jen_Bondeson.

The city issued the following citations Friday to the building owners at 123 to 125 N. Market St.:

1. Structure unfit for occupancy: Failure to abate or correct such unsafe conditions specified in city code.

2. Structure unfit for occupancy: Failure to make repairs within specified time frame to eliminate hazard to the public or correct unsafe conditions.

3. Closing of vacant structure: Failure to secure the property or correct such unsafe condition as specified in city code.

4. Prohibited occupancy: Failure to maintain it in a secured manner/failure to abate or correct such unsafe condition.

5. Failure to obtain proper plumbing permit as required.

6. Unsafe equipment: Failure to secure the electrical panel and wiring throughout the property.

7. Protective treatment: Failure to repair and maintain all exterior surfaces.

8. Structural members: Failure to repair structure to safely support dead and live loads.

9. Failure to repair roof and drainage as specified in time frame given.

10. Failure to abate or correct such unsafe condition as specified in "Dangerous structure or premises" in city code.

If you go

What: City of Frederick news conference

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday 

Where: City Hall boardroom

Why: To discuss the code violation processes for vacant and blighted properties

If you go

What: Rally outside of Asiana building

When: 11 a.m. Wednesday 

Where: In front of old Asiana restaurant, 123 N. Market St.

Why: A demonstration to get Frederick City Hall to take action on blighted and vacant properties

Contact: Truby LaGarde, tlagotr@aol.com

(21) comments

ReadPhred

Get on with it! Too Little, Too long overdue!

sweetie_me_2

I was pregnant with my now 19 yr old and living in one of Mrs Ros' disgustingly neglected apartments. She approached my now ex husband to re-tar the roof. That place was uninhabited then, I can't imagine what it is now. I believe the city should force their hand and not only take this opportunity to make them surrender the property but inspect ALL of their properties and fine accordingly requiring her to bring EVERYTHING up to code.

whoville2

why has it taken 10 years to get to this?

25daysbelowzero

there are no laws saying that buildings must be occupied and in use.

if the electric power to the building is off then there is no risk of electric hazard. So if the electric is on, and if the city really cares about the well being of others, then the city will order the power company to turn the power supply off. A fine wont save a life. Terminating the electric supply will.

fredneckian

They should rally outside their mcmansion if they want any results.

catcher

The Ros appear to be unwilling to sell and unwilling to do anything with the property. They've been getting away with this nonsense for a decade, and that's long enough.

karinagw

I'll believe it when I see it. I really wish I knew what the Ros have on the city, that they have been getting away with this for so long.

lintradley

People need to mind their own business. If you're worried it's not pretty enough, then make an offer to buy it and fix it up.

I think anyone here supporting making them fix their "blight" issue would feel a lot different if they had neighbors spying on their activity, and complaining their property is a eyesore to them personally.

No business is taking place there so structural issues are not putting anyone in real danger. The pretty part - stop complaining and offer to buy it up and fix it if it bothers you so much. Don't use the government to threaten people to make it look the way you want it to. Private property is private property. Using government thuggery to do something to make you more aesthetically pleased is nothing more than self-righteous bullying.

edens30

Not putting anyone in real danger? Does fire respect property lines?

higgledy

EXACTLY! Faulty wiring is a hazard to all structures within the city. See Great London Fire of 1666, Chicago Fire of 1871, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fires

kjswartz

In a commercial district, neighboring owners DO have a say. Their business interests are tied to your blighted buildings; their patrons are taking their business elsewhere less rat infested and more "cheerful".

I would like to see those properties condemned and demolished as part of a downtown restoration program.

karinagw

I'm sorry. Are you under the impression that no one has tried to purchase the property? mwahahahahahahaha It's the biggest joke in Frederick.

touscents

I wish I understood the owners' reasons, but they are obviously unwilling to sell the property. They could make a lot of money by selling it. With some people logic does not apply. Why else would we have global warming deniers, anti-vacciners, and Blaine as our county commissioner prez?

fredneckian

And if you had a neighbor next to your house that let it run down and has vagrants hanging inside it and the house was in danger of falling over onto yours or catching fire that might migrate to your property you'd just offer to buy it, correct?

Comment deleted.
DKai

[thumbup][thumbup]

elymus43

No action - business as usual. There always seems to be quick action on annexations, bike trails, dog parks, and etc. Frederick City reminds me of Mayberry, NC on the Andy Griffith Show.

matthewboh

Annexations = kickbacks from developers and land owners. No money from the property owners to politicians for blight. Who votes for these clowns in office?

FredFred

To a thrifty business person, the $10k is more than a nuisance. IMO, not high enough, but a good start.

C8H10N4O2

To the Ros, this is a small business fee.

president8444

No pay sell it to a real fine owner.[thumbup]

thump1202

hear hear glad to see action being taken, only hope it results in more than slaps on the wrist.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.