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After 42 years, a Fargo zoning regulation threatens an auto repair shop



Fargo, North Dakota – The city has informed Fargo business owner John Bultman that he is no longer permitted to operate after he sold his property in March.

“I was told that I’d be grandfathered in and I’d be able to stay on until I retired,” Bultman said.

Despite the fact that John’s Repair is located in a residential area, Bultman claims that when the city changes its zoning regulations, he will be able to continue operating his company. After he sold the home and rented it from the new owner, everything changed. Behind St. Paul’s Newman Center and The Bison Turf, off 12th Avenue North and University Drive, lies the store he has owned and operated for 42 years. He received a notification from the city in late December that he had violated the land development law and that he had until March 30 to halt operating his business and remove any automobiles and parts from the property or face legal repercussions.

Bultman enjoys performing oil changes, brake and shock repairs, and other maintenance on cars to help customers go where they need to go. At the very least, he wants to keep operating until he turns 70 in August.

“This is my livelihood and I enjoy helping people out,” Bultman said.

Bultman claims he has made an effort to reach a solution with the city.

“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.

Bultman is saddened that he may soon no longer be able to repair cars after spending decades doing so.

“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.

The circumstance that permitted the business to continue operating has altered, according to a statement from the City of Fargo. Due to the fact that Mr. Bultman no longer owned the property and was storing trash cars outside, the location’s status as a Legal Non-Conforming Land Use shifted to a violation.