Zombie Homes in Minot - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Zombie Homes in Minot

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If you drive around the city of Minot you are likely to see one of hundreds of homes that have been abandoned after the 2011 flood.

There are about 300 of them.

Both City officials and residents continue to look for answers that might cure the once living, but now debilitated properties of the Magic City.

Bonnie Campo visited some of what people are beginning to call Zombie Homes.

City Alderman, George Withus, was four years away from paying off his mortgage on this home when the flood hit. Like many others he had to start over.

(George Withus, City Alderman) "We moved in one year to day after the flood, and that was exciting for us, to get back into our house, but three years after the flood it's kind of disheartening to see some of the houses in the neighborhood that haven't been worked on yet, and just kind of left to rot."

(Lance Meyer, City Engineer) "There are several around the city, and all in various states of disrepair. Some they're cutting the weeds down. Maybe the paint is not shiny anymore, but the house is still secure. Those houses there, there's not much we can do about those at this point. it has to be damaged more than 50 percent of the value. It's not an issue that we can rush, and take care of. We do it as fast as we can. We are being diligent on this, but there is a lot of legal paperwork that has to occur before we can go and do this. Otherwise if we don't follow those steps, and we demolish a house we are going to be paying someone to build a new one for that person.

(George Withus, City Alderman) "This is a rental property that just hasn't been touched at all. In the Summer time this smells really bad, when it gets hot out, and the wind is blowing the right direction. The neighbors to the north here and us in the back, get a pretty good whiff of what's been going on inside that house for the last three years."

(Lance Meyer, City Engineer) "The foundations are still intact. The homes may have been secured with ply-wood or something so you can't get inside of them. If we can't tell if there is anything from the outside structurally wrong with that house at this time it doesn't meet the dangerous building part of our ordinance.

(George Withus, City Alderman) "Houses that have been cleaned and gutted, things like that can be renovated, or picked up and moved even. Houses that haven't been worked on, I don't think anybody really wants to go in. Those houses are pretty much probably gone."

(Lance Meyer, City Engineer) "As a property owner it's your responsibility to take care of your property, make sure it meets the city ordinance. Whether it is cutting weeds, or making sure your structure is safe and habitable. If it's not then you're in violation and we have to start taking action to protect other citizens. You'll see some of them out there that they're gutted down to the studs. You can see right through the building, those ones we are coming after. The demolition process only starts after the property owner, they fail to respond to bringing that house back up to code."

Withus thinks state legislators should make homes a priority their next session in January. In the meantime the city has plans to buy 100 more homes in the second round of buyouts, but it's not for sure if any of those will be zombie homes. In Minot, Bonnie Campo, KX News.

2,600 homes were damaged or destroyed in the 2011 Mouse River flood.

Since then the city has spent about $8 million dollars on home acquisitions as part of the planned flood protection plan.

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