The Williston City Commission declared that two structures within the city qualified as dangerous buildings and must be repaired or removed, according to city ordinances.
At the Tuesday, Nov. 26 meeting of the commission, City Attorney Jordan Evert and Development Services Director Mark Schneider brought two cases before the commissioners regarding properties that they believed posed safety issues for citizens of Williston. The commission held hearings for both buildings presented, making determinations based off of the recommendations of Evert and Schneider.
The first property, located at 516 West Broadway, involves a garage that has been unfinished since 2013, when owner Amelia Brossart was issued a permit. According to the memo provided to the commission, the garage has sat without siding for six years, and the structure also lacks a door, with the opening being covered by particle board.
The memo states that the structure has been compromised due to the lack of siding, qualifying it as a dangerous building according to the Williston Code of Ordinances. Evert stated that Brossart was given notice of the hearing and notified that the building was considered dangerous on Sept. 19, 2019 by the Williams County Sheriff’s Department.
While Evert recommended that the commission offer Brossart at least 30 days to repair the building and come into compliance with the city, Schneider suggest allowing at least 60 days for the necessary work to be done. If action is not taken, Schneider said, the city has the ability to then tear the structure down and possibly impose a fine to the owner. Brossart addressed the commission personally, and stated that she believed that work on the garage could be completed within the recommended 60 days.
The commissioners voted unanimously to give Brossart 60 days to complete the work, at which point the city would intervene if it has not been brought into compliance.
The second property, located at 2030 6th Avenue East, was deemed as a dangerous building due to severe fire damage to the structure, primarily in the roof and attic area. According to the City Attorney’s memo, the fire at the residence was never reported, and damage from the fire has caused standing water in the building’s basement. The city was notified of the dilapidated state of the property by the building’s renters, with the city then determining that the home was uninhabitable.
Evert stated that property owner Matthew Major was given notice of the hearing on Sept. 18, 2019, and that Wells Fargo, an interested party, was served notice on Nov. 1, 2019. The property is currently placarded that it is uninhabitable and cannot be occupied.
Schneider stated that his office had received no response from the owner for several months, and recommended giving Major 90 days to either make the necessary repairs or sell the property. If no progress has been made in that time, he added, the city could then step and possibly demolish the building if needed.
“My first recommendation would be 90 days to pull a permit and complete the repairs or sell the property, as I believe there’s a few people in town that may want to pick this up and would certainly be capable of repairing this. And since we’re in such a housing shortage, it could be repaired but the right people need to do it,” he explained. “But if we get no response from the owner, then I would say we just take it down and be done with it.”
The commission voted unanimously to give the owner 90 days to come into compliance, at which time the city would intervene.