Mayor continues fight against fire code violations

Mayor Jim Newberry took his fight to address life safety fire code and zoning violations in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Kentucky to court Monday and won a temporary injunction concerning a house on Woodland Avenue.

Newberry said landlords were given notice of his plans to increase scrutiny concerning fire code and zoning violations on Oct. 9 during a news conference.

That same day he met personally with a wide variety of groups, including rental associations, homebuilders and remodelers.

Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone Monday issued a temporary injunction barring property owner Michael Morrison from operating the house at 171 Woodland Ave. as a lodging house.

The house does not meet the fire safety requirements of a lodging house with more than two stories, which includes sprinklers, the Judge said, after the owners admitted that the house does not have sprinklers and that it does not meet current zoning requirements.

The order requires Morrison to vacate the property until it can be brought into compliance with fire safety and zoning requirements.

Currently, there are five students living in the house who will have to move until the court lifts the injunction.

When the city originally inspected in October there were 10 students living in the house, all with individual locks on their bedrooms and smoke alarms that were not hard-wired into the electrical system, both clear violations of the fire code.

City attorneys said, in addition to problems with fire and zoning regulations, the Woodland Avenue house has no certificate of occupancy, several electricity meters have not had a final inspection and the facility does not meet parking requirements for 10 occupants.

Newberry said the inspections will continue in residences where there appear to be congregate living facilities in single-family homes.

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