Each week, Herald reporter Charly Haley answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.
Q. What are the city’s rules for renters in neighborhoods? My neighbors have started to rent out their basement as an apartment, and now the tenant always parks on the street in front of my house, preventing me from using that parking space. The tenant is also noisy.
A. In Grand Forks, a property owner is required to get a license and a Certificate of Occupancy from the city in order to rent out their property, according to Bev Collings, building and zoning administrator for the city.
You can start the process of obtaining these documents at the Inspections Office in City Hall, she said. The city inspects rental properties approximately every five years or when complaints are reported.
When it comes to parking, all houses, regardless if they are owner-occupied or rented, are required to have a minimum of two off-street parking spaces, Collings said.
“With that said, anyone can park on the street as long as they are not breaking any parking laws,” she said. “The street is for public use. A home owner does not own the parking spot on the street in front of their house.”
And about the noise, Collings said, the city does have a noise ordinance, and if someone feels another person is breaking that ordinance they can call the Grand Forks Police Department to investigate.
Q. It seems odd that South 23rd Street runs from 32nd Avenue straight into the parking lot of Lithia, while drivers along the frontage road must stop. Is there any logical reason for that configuration?
A. When that part of town was not yet developed in the 1980s, the city had planned to have South 23rd Street connect 32nd Avenue and 36th Avenue, according to Brad Gengler, city planner.
Walmart then came into that area and part of their development involved a frontage road, Gengler said. When Hanson Ford, which is now Lithia, started their development, they wanted to continue the frontage road all the way to South 20th Street.
The Lithia development changed the plans for South 23rd Street, Gengler said.
The reason for the stop signs on the frontage road and not on South 23rd Street, he said, is so that traffic won’t back up and affect traffic on 32nd Avenue South.
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