FARGO — A neighbor has filed an appeal to a conditional use permit granted by the city of Fargo for a bed and breakfast in one of the city's oldest homes along Eighth Street South near downtown.
Richard Nelson, who lives next to the historic home owned by Roger and Margaret Nelson, filed the appeal in district court.
His attorney, Chris Kennelly, said no court date has been set; however, a transcript of the meetings where the city's planning and zoning commission approved the permit on a 5-3 vote and the city commission on a 4-1 vote have been ordered with Richard Nelson responsible for the cost of the transcribing.
Kennelly said he expected the court hearing to be scheduled after the transcription is completed.
Roger and Margaret Nelson said they spent more than $1 million on refurbishing the 1883 Victorian-style home at 611 Eighth Street S. and wanted to share it with others by operating the bed and breakfast. They also said they have been trying to sell the home on and off for years, but haven't had any luck.
After a public hearing and spirited debate, during which several neighbors objected to the project, the city commission gave its final approval in September following a meeting that was held to see if the neighbors could reach a settlement.
In the case, Kennelly said his client doesn't believe the permit is in compliance with city laws.
It states the property "does not meet the definition of a bed and breakfast under the Land Development Code."
The appeal also states that "no additional off-street parking is available as required" by the city code as the owners planned to host occasional private parties or receptions at the home. To back up that point, the appeal states "due to the historical residential character of the neighborhood and proximity of multifamily housing with inadequate off-street parking, street parking is already limited and is not sufficient to accommodate receptions or private parties on the property."
According to the appeal, the city also denied Richard Nelson the "right to a fair hearing . . . by providing inadequate notice as to the scope" of the conditional use permit and also "failed to allow Nelson to present his objections during a public hearing on the application at a Sept. 23 meeting."
Roger and Margaret Nelson said the home was in disrepair when they bought it 32 years ago after it had been turned into a 14-unit apartment building in 1920. It had also been a sanitarium and alcohol treatment center at different times.
City Attorney Erik Johnson said Jane Dynes of the Serkland Law Firm of Fargo, who handles most of the city's litigation, will represent the city in the case.
It wasn't known if the couple was entertaining guests yet at the home, as the couple didn't return phone messages. The bed and breakfast was approved for five rooms with parking for five vehicles on the property as well as for the smaller receptions or parties. Johnson said the permit for the bed and breakfast is still in effect as the court reviews the case.
Johnson said its his policy to not comment on any pending litigation.