Eagan Council Outlaws Grill Storage on Some Outdoor Balconies
The residents of many of the city's larger apartment complexes will no longer be able to store grills on their patios. The ordinance will improve fire safety at those buildings, according to the city's fire chief.
Want to store your grill on your apartment's outdoor balcony? Better think twice, thanks to an Eagan ordinance amendment passed Tuesday night.
Last year, the Eagan City Council prohibited the use of gas or electric grills on the outdoor decks or balconies of housing complexes that have three or more units sharing a common connecting hallway.
On Tuesday, the council took that rule one step further, voting unanimously to ban not only the use but the storage of grills on the decks of those housing complexes.
It was always the city's intent to ban both the storage and use of grills on those outdoor balconies, Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott said. But a mistake in the wording of the original statute, approved in May 2012, allowed residents to continue storing grills on their patios, Scott said.
The reason for the ordinance change is obvious, Scott said.
"If we’re allowing you to store a grill on the deck, it’s pretty easy to just fire it up, and we don’t know if you're using it or not," Scott said.
The ban is intended to protect the residents of larger apartment complexes in the city, where there is usually only a single exit from an apartment unit, Scott said. Grill embers can stay hot for days, and one careless neighbor in an apartment complex can endanger a number of families or residents, Scott said.
The inspiration for the prohibition came from a 1987 fire at Woodridge Apartments in Eagan, when improperly discarded charcoal ignited one of the largest fires in the city's history and all but destroyed an apartment building, Scott said. Nearly 20 Eagan firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion during the blaze, which occurred on a 90-degree day.
Residents in single-family homes are still allowed to store and use grills on decks or patios, although Scott advised that homeowners place the grill at least 15 feet from the side of the house.
"Our intent is to try and make it as safe as possible," Scott said.