Fargo zoning ordinance prevents man from continuing auto repair business after 42 years
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – A Fargo business owner used to be able to run his auto repair shop on his property despite it being in a residential area.
Since he sold the property, the city says he needs to stop running his business in March.
“I was told that I’d be grandfathered in and I’d be able to stay on until I retired,” Bultman said.
Bultman says when the city changed its zoning ordinance, he would be able to continue to run his business, John’s Repair, despite it being in a residential area. That all changed after he sold the property and rented it from the new owner. The shop he’s run for 42 years is off 12th Avenue North and University Drive behind St. Paul’s Newman Center and The Bison Turf. The city sent him a notice of a land development code violation in late December saying he had until March 30th to stop doing business and remove vehicles and parts from the property or expect legal action.
Bultman enjoys fixing vehicles’ brakes and shocks and doing oil changes so people can get where they need to be. He would at least like to continue doing business until he turns 70 in August.
“This is my livelihood and I enjoy helping people out,” Bultman said.
Bultman says he’s tried to work with the city to come to a compromise.
“Greg Connolin said ‘I heard you were going to have a meeting with the mayor.’ and then later on he said ‘We’re not even going to meet with the mayor. We’ve decided we’re going to do nothing.’ All of a sudden they decided to come and they said ‘We’ll go until March,'” Bultman said.
After decades of fixing vehicles, Bultman is devastated he could soon no longer be able to do what he loves.
“I’ve raised property values $50,000 on this block and paid taxes for 30 years and that all went by the wayside,” Bultman said.
In a statement, the City of Fargo says The situation that allowed for the business to remain in operation has changed. The location changed from a Legal Non-Conforming Land Use to a violation due to Mr. Bultman no longer owning the property and him storing junk vehicles outside.