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City stresses building ordinance

With the increased amount of new construction and renovation taking place in the town of Bismarck, the city is reminding residents of the applications and permits required for projects within the city limits, as well as the possible penalties for those who don’t follow the ordinance.

“When someone wants to build here in town, the city has a brief ordinance to show the process for doing that,” said Administrative Assistant Alan Williams. “We want to make that clear because we have people building who don’t first obtain a permit and we want to correct that. This will let them know what it is they have to do.”

Mayor Seth Radford stressed that the ordinance’s guidelines go beyond the construction or renovation of homes or businesses.

“To go with that, it includes portable sheds and everything,” he said. “We have a process that’s been in effect for several years. We really don’t want to start the enforcement sections. We don’t honestly believe that people truly understand. I think there’s a lack of communication between the city and the people.

“They don’t understand that we do have a process and the process is not only for their property but for their neighbors’ property to keep it enhanced and keep businesses out of residential districts. That’s what we want to do. We don’t want to start going out there writing tickets immediately. That’s not our goal.

“Our goal is that we want to formally educate them on that in the newspaper. We will be sending it to them in a newsletter — a comprehensive newsletter from the city — covering a variety of things. We want to educate them because we are working, not only with planning and zoning and the police department, we’re going to be educating them about trash ordinances as we’re doing that.

“We don’t want to pop up a new ordinance on people and then all of a sudden they don’t know about it and we start fining them. We don’t want that. We want to make sure everyone understands that and give people a chance to comply with it.”

Radford said one of the major problems is the influx of portable sheds that are sitting too close to property lines and doesn’t provide other property owners enough space to move around them or maintain their yards.

“This kind of encompasses that and we have the packets up here at city hall,” he said. “We also have a zoning administrator who will go out and has the authority to give approval. We need to have setbacks for safety — so the fire and police departments can access all sides of the house. You know, there’s certain setbacks on the side of the property, the front of the property or the back of the property.

“It’s not just something the city of Bismarck wants done, a lot of it is for safety too. If there should be a fire or something, hopefully the idea is that it won’t impinge on the next-door neighbor’s property. People who rent property are especially unaware of the ordinances. We’re going to be going into detail about this on a meeting we’ll be holding at 6 p.m. on Aug. 13.”

Radford added that enforcing the ordinance is just another aspect of the city’s attempt to bring growth and prosperity back to the community.

“We don’t want to pop up a new ordinance on people and then all of a sudden they don’t know about it and we start fining them.” Mayor Seth Radford

Bismarck residents are encouraged to stop by city hall to pick up a packet on the city's building ordinance.

Bismarck residents are encouraged to stop by city hall to pick up a packet on the city’s building ordinance.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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