Neighbors debate lawn toilets: Quirky decor or ludicrous landscaping?

West Fargo City Commission fields comments from disputing neighbors, citizen group.

Four toilets sit on a lawn with flowers growing out of the bowls and tanks.
Some neighbors are not a fan of the toilets used as planters outside a home along 12th Avenue West in West Fargo.

WEST FARGO — In the inaugural public comment portion of a regular West Fargo City Commission meeting on Monday, May 15, neighbors took to the podium to discuss their ire with a neighbor who has repurposed used toilets as planters outside their home.

"These are not new toilets placed on the lawn as lawn ornaments or planters. They are old, used toilets, which is concerning," neighbor Heidi Tong said. "We've been told if she uses them as planters, they are not considered junk.

"This is considered junk to several neighbors," she said. "It's an eyesore and a complete embarrassment for anyone walking or driving down the neighborhood streets. Not to mention the devastating impact on our property values if we would ever try to sell."

Another neighbor, Susan Zahradka, said along with the toilets, there is other junk and debris that continues to be left on another nearby property.

"If one person does it, another person does it, and it just becomes a trickle-down," she said. "I take pride in my neighborhood."


Amanda Fox lives at the home in question and displays the toilets in the 800 block of 12th Avenue West. She said the toilets are not junk, but rather are upcycled into creative lawn decor, which keeps them out of landfills.

"There have been quite a few calls and uproar about the aesthetics of planters," Fox said. "My neighbors don't like the planters, tree stumps and other things and speak against those who have creative liberty to do what we want on our own lawns."

Fox said when police officers visit her home due to neighbors' complaints, she points out a neighbor's pool that does not have a tall enough fence around it, thus violating a city ordinance, yet nothing is done.

Tong asked the city to require the toilets be moved immediately and the ordinance be revised so that they cannot be used in the future.

Following the public comments, resident David Withee spoke on behalf of West Fargoans for Transparency, Accountability, and Professionalism, which recently formed a Facebook group.

Withee said the group wants to work with the commission to better govern the city.

"Please understand that our goal is to help identify potential issues and work with you to find solutions. With you, not against you," he said.

Mayor Bernie Dardis announced at the May 1 meeting that a new public comment period would be added to the city's regular meetings held on the first and third Mondays of each month. May 15 was the first time a half-hour for public comment was set aside prior to the regular meeting.


Dardis said the new process may be tweaked over time, such as shortening the public comment from its current half-hour, but for the next three months, it will continue to begin at 5 p.m., prior to regular meetings.

Only West Fargo residents are permitted to speak, and they are asked to sign up ahead of time. The commission takes no action after the comments, which Dardis said allows commissioners to research and consider the issues discussing them.

"We will address that either privately or publicly with you at a later date," he said.

Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum.
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