City requires permits for temporary housing

Homeowners living in on-site temporary housing while continuing to repair their flooded houses should make sure they have the proper city permits. Unauthorized campers, recreational vehicles or tents need to move out of residential areas into campgrounds, according to the city.

City planner Donna Bye said the city received about 50 complaints about unauthorized camping or improper group housing in each month of May and June, about double the normal number of complaints.

City code limits households to no more than four unrelated residents. Some complaints also have alerted the city to illegal camping on abandoned or vacated flooded properties without the landowner’s permission.

As a result of the numerous complaints, the city has announced that it will be proactively enforcing its ordinances in city limits and within the city’s two-mile jurisdiction. The city has verified that there are apartment vacancies, camper spots and homes for sale that can provide alternate housing.

Because of the housing shortage immediately following the 2011 flood, the Minot City Council allowed homeowners and contractors to move temporary housing into flooded residential areas to facilitate rebuilding. That permission expired last month, but homeowners can apply for conditional use permits if they or their contractors need to have recreational vehicles or campers on their properties while restoring homes.

People who have purchased flooded properties are not eligible for the permits. The city is not granting permits for temporary or camper housing outside the flooded areas.

Bye said that while it may be time for many campers to find new locations, the city wants to make sure that people trying to restore their flooded homes are able to do so.

“We are willing to work with people. There are always special circumstances,” Bye said.

The city council is allowing Federal Emergency Management Agency units to remain on private lots until Oct. 1 if homeowners still are working on their houses. Residents who expect to be restoring their homes after Oct. 1 can apply for an extension by contacting the city planning office at 857-4100 on or before Aug. 15.

Companies wishing to house workers in campers or recreational vehicles also should contact the city regarding the possibility of temporary permits, Bye said. Camping currently is not allowed in commercial or industrial zones without permision from the city and First District Health Unit.

When housing violations are reported, the city notifies the owner of the ordinance by certified leader and sends a copy to the occupant. If there is no response, the planning department, in cooperation with the police department, will attempt to make contact with the owner or occupant about correcting the violation. An unauthorized recreational vehicle or camper can be towed or the owner charged in municipal court with a zoning violation.