A set of plastic gardening shelters erected as novelty “igloos” on a Rochester rooftop must come down due to code violations, a city official said.
The igloos drew diners by the scores this winter to the rooftop of popular local spot La Vetta, but according to literature from the domes’ manufacturer, the shelters should not be near an open flame, or even a lit cigarette, said Randy Johnson, Rochester’s director of building safety.
“These are flammable,” said Johnson.
Local company Titan Development and Investments owns the building, and on Thursday their director of construction and development, Brian Moser, sent a letter to Johnson confirming that the domes would come down within seven days. The shelters couldn’t be immediately removed because they had become frozen to the rooftop, Johnson said.
His initial concerns about the domes earlier this winter included both fire safety and the domes’ ability to withstand high winds.
His first warning to the restaurant, however, ignited a social media campaign asking the city to not interfere. Someone started an online petition, the restaurant’s Facebook page drew scathing remarks about city bureaucrats and the lobbying even extended to Rochester’s No. 1 hit music station, KROC, as people raved about the wintertime views from La Vetta’s roof.
Johnson said the domes might have been approved by the health department, but they were never approved by the fire department or his office. He said it’s possible that the restaurant could open something similar if the domes were constructed of more substantial, fire-safe materials.
Johnson said he knows that an architect working with the restaurant has been exploring ways to do just that.
Calls to the restaurant and to Moser, of Titan Development, were not immediately returned Friday.