Agreement Gives Fargo, ND, Repair Shop Aug. 1 Closing Deadline

Agreement Gives Fargo, ND, Repair Shop Aug. 1 Closing Deadline

The city of Fargo, ND, and the operator of a north Fargo auto repair shop have reached an agreement that will allow John Bultman, who runs John's Repair Shop, to stay in business until Aug. 1.

However, Bultman, who has operated the shop for 42 years, says he is unhappy with some of the terms set by the city---including how vehicles outside of the shop are to be managed---and he plans to wrap things up by the end of May.

The agreement, approved by the Fargo City Commission on May 1, settles a conflict that arose when the city informed Bultman earlier this year his business near 12th Avenue and 11th Street North was operating in violation of city ordinances and he was given until March 30 to shut down.

At the time, Bultman maintained that John's Repair shop, which was also known as Bass Auto when Bultman was also in the business of selling cars, was "grandfathered in" when zoning changes were made years ago and Bultman maintained that held true even though he had sold the garage that houses the shop and the nearby home he lives in.

Bultman, who now rents his former home and the unattached garage housing his shop, said he was willing to work with the city and shut down the business when he turns 70 in August, but when he was told by the city he had to leave at the end of March, he decided he would stay indefinitely.

A public interest legal firm in Arlington, VA, The Institute for Justice, took up Bultman's cause and warned city officials that legal action might be taken if the shop was not allowed to remain open.

City commissioners subsequently met to talk about the situation and voted to give Mayor Tim Mahoney time to negotiate a settlement.

In a communication to city commissioners dated April 27, Mahoney said the city maintains it was within its rights when it sought to close the repair shop in March, but he acknowledged a settlement had been reached that pushes the deadline for closure to Aug. 1.

The agreement is between the city, Bultman and Northstar Property Partners Inc., the owner of the building where the shop is located.

According to the agreement, Bultman has already removed some signage and agrees to refrain from putting up any new signs.

Bultman said earlier this year the conflict with the city had caused him stress.

"I’m 69 years old, I shouldn’t have to be worried about this right on the eve of my retirement," he said at the time.

On May 1, Bultman said he was deeply unhappy with the terms of the agreement and he said rather than risk violating conditions set by the city and facing possible fines he planned to close things down by the end of the month.

"They basically put me out of business," he said.

We thank The Forum for reprint permission.

Website Rt Graphic Ep.51 Nancy Rolland 600x400 1.9.24

Shop & Product Showcase