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2 run-down homes in Fargo deemed dangerous; set to be demolished

Fargo City Commission debated whether to purchase one of the homes at 714 12th St. N., but tabled a decision until the commission's next meeting on Oct. 17.

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The Fargo City Commission deemed this home at 714 12th St. N., pictured Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, a dangerous building and is scheduled to be demolished. The commission debated whether to purchase the property, but tabled a decision until the next meeting on Oct. 17.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO — Two homes recently used by squatters were approved unanimously by the Fargo City Commission for demolition on Monday, Oct. 3.

The first house, a 1,152-square-foot property with a basement and detached garage located at 714 12th St. N., was condemned due to excessive hoarding issues and a severe accumulation of trash inside the house making a full inspection impossible, city records reported.

Squatters were also occasionally visiting the building, according to city records.

Built in 1903, the building is now owned by 701 Brew LLC., city records reported. The company originally planned to demolish the property to add parking space, but the lot located across the street from Camp Lone Tree, 701 N. University Dr. , is not authorized for parking space, according to city records.

“We’re still undecided what we want to do with the lot. We originally bought it because we thought we could do the parking. Through the zoning stuff, that’s not going to work,” said Chad Terstriep, an owner of 701 Brew LLC, during the city commissioners meeting.

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The 12th Street house was first signed over to United Savings and Loan in November 2021, and 701 Brew LLC purchased the lot for $30,000, city records reported.

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The Fargo City Commission deemed this home at 2315 2nd Ave. S., pictured Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, a dangerous building and is scheduled to be demolished.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

701 Brew LLC is willing to sell the property for $29,000 to the City of Fargo, according to city records, which is considering the option of converting the lot into an affordable single-family home.

Commissioners debated on what to do with the property during Monday's meeting, but tabled a decision until the commission's next meeting on Oct. 17.

Commissioner John Strand believed it wasn't the city's responsibility to purchase the lot, although he and Commissioner Arlette Preston both agreed the neighborhood needed more affordable family housing.

Commissioner Dave Piepkorn advocated that the city should purchase the lot.

"If we buy the lot, we know the destiny. We've spent the last few minutes making the issue very complicated," Piepkorn said. “Let’s buy this lot because we don’t know what is going to happen.”

The second house, a 988-square-foot single-story home with a basement and an attached two-stall garage at 2315 2nd Ave. S., was considered unsafe because of extreme deterioration, squatters and drug-related activity, according to city reports.

Bill Thompson, a city building inspector, discovered that some of the problems inside the structure included: an inoperable furnace, questionable wiring, extreme deterioration of overhead garage, squirrel infestation, loose chimney bricks, graffiti and a presence of squatters.

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Inspection of the second property began on June 27, and by Aug. 15, Michael Splonskowski, a city assessor, determined the building no longer exceeded 50% of its value.

City Inspections Director Shawn Ouradnik issued a dangerous building notice on Aug. 22, saying that the property owner failed to comply with orders to repair or remove the “heavily damaged structure.”

Built in 1958, the house has also raised the concern of Fargo police after multiple complaints and incidents occurred at the property.

In early August, two people were arrested on drug-related charges, according to police reports. Known to be an abandoned house frequented by “suspicious individuals,” police officers also responded to a bonfire report on May 31 at the residence, city records indicated.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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