Council Advances "Zombie Homes" Plan - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Council Advances "Zombie Homes" Plan

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The plan to deal with so-called "zombie homes" in Minot's flood zone got a boost in the city council last night.

For months, Minot citizens including Shaun Sipma and Lianne Zeltinger, have been gathering information about homes abandoned since the 2011 flood, and gathering signatures on petitions asking the city council to develop an official policy.

Last night, Zeltinger presented the petitions she says contain more than one thousand signatures to council members.

She says it's not a demand to tear down dozens of houses immediately, but to get the process moving to identify abandoned homes and clean them up or have them removed.

(Lianne Zeltinger, Minot Resident) "It's not saying bulldoze the homes, it's not saying cut everything down. It's saying clean up the debris. The people who have moved in next door to these homes that are open with raccoons and bats and dead animals, personal possessions, food from 2011 want it cleaned up. And I don't blame them."

Council members applauded the efforts of the citizens who've brought the issue to the forefront. And council member Dean Frantsvog pushed for finding funds right away to deal with the worst problem homes quickly.

City Finance Director Cindy Hemphill said some sales tax funds may be available now.

(Cindy Hemphill, Minot Finance Director) "There's almost $74,000 under "major projects" to my recollection we have not expended those funds so that would be a start is the council would so want to authorize those funds to go towards this project."

The council voted to use that money to begin the process, and to consider unspent federal flood recovery money on the effort to clean up and possibly tear down "zombie homes" in the city's flood zone.

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