North Dakota Shop Owner Fights City Over Shop Closure Notice

Feb. 8, 2023

The city of Fargo said the shop no longer meets zoning requirements and must shut down or be fined.

Feb. 8, 2023—A Fargo, North Dakota, auto repair shop owner is battling against the city. 

John Bultman, who has been in business for 42 years, is being told by the city that his shop needs to shut down at the end of March or face severe fines.  

According to the city, a longstanding zoning agreement that allowed Bultman to operate in a residential area for four decades is now null and void since he’s sold the property.  

A nonprofit law firm, Institute For Justice, sent a letter to Assistant Fargo City Attorney Alissa Farol, calling the city’s actions “illegal and unconstitutional.” 

“The City’s order states that failure to shut down the auto repair will result in Mr. Bultman’s landlord suffering fines of up to $1,000 per day,” according to Ewing. “The City’s order contravenes the City’s own ordinances. It also likely violates the state and federal constitutional protections for substantive and procedural due process. 

“He is the business’s only employee and should be allowed to continue operating until he wishes to retire in two years. We ask that the City allow Mr. Bultman to operate his business in peace, and immediately rescind its illegal and unconstitutional order.” 

As reported by KFGO, in December, Bultman was issued a land development code violation telling him to vacate his shop by March 30 and to remove vehicles and parts or face legal action from the city. 

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Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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