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Building codes close Armstrong Fitness University

POULSBO — A wave of support exhibited for Armstrong Fitness University during an Aug. 8 city council meeting, crashed without impact this week.

The fitness center, which was relocated from Viking Avenue to the former site of Nilsen's Appliance on Front Street following a July gas leak at a neighboring business, was closed by the city Thursday for building code violations.

The city of Poulsbo Aug. 16 issued a "Notice of Violation and Order to Cease and Desist Business Immediately" at AFU's newly opened site.

The order comes on the heels of claims by AFU clients that owner Ann Armstrong was being treated unfairly by the city by being forced to pay close to $3,250 for permits and related fees. They reasoned that because the gas leak, which made staff and clients at the former Viking Way location ill, was not Armstrong's fault, some leniency should be granted in terms of the unexpected move.

The city was working with Armstrong but issued the order after the city council was briefed by the city attorney about the liability associated with allowing a business to operate in a structure that did not comply with the International Building Code and International Fire Code.

Mayor Kathryn Quade said in a prepared statement Friday, "While the city has done all that it can do to assist Ms. Armstrong to reopen her business at this location, the city could not continue this effort in light of the severe safety and health issues that currently exist.

"The residents of Poulsbo have an expectation that the city is diligently doing its job in regards to ensuring buildings are compliant with the applicable codes and regulations to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. The council and I take this responsibility very seriously and in light of the facts, had no choice but to take this action."

City staff has inspected the structure and identified the code issues that need to be addressed before AFU will be allowed to reopen.

The city is working with the business and property owners to ensure the structure is safe for occupancy.

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