Fifty-eight of the temporary housing units provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Minot's 2011 flood are still in use on private property in the area, the City Planning Department estimates. That is down from around 120 at the beginning of this year.
While the City Council had previously set a deadline of Oct. 1 for their use, it elected to waive fees and certified letter requirements for Interim Use permits that would allow residents to continue inhabiting the structures until June 1 of next year if needed. Preparatory to a last-minute influx of applications, the City Council chambers have been reserved for Sept. 25, for a 3 p.m. ad hoc committee to hear individual requests for extension.
But applications for the permits have to be filed, and soon. "It's considered a zoning violation," said city planner Donna Bye, though she said her department had no plans to pursue legal action against the noncompliant. Following the ad hoc meeting, she said the City Council "will guide us from there."
The planning department has sent out letters requesting property owners to provide an update on their situation, but Bye explained that more than half still have not replied. So far, only about 23 applications have been submitted, despite a second round of notices sent out.
"We're approaching that very closely," she said of the deadline. A second wave was already sent out, but she commented that "a knock on the door would be most beneficial."
"We have a one-page application," she explained, a simple form asking for basic personal details, a site plan and reasons for filing a permit application. "There are some that are very close to finishing their remodels," she said, people who might only need the units for a short time longer. "We also have some individuals that have made no plans," she added. "Most of our applicants have indicated they will be looking into selling them."
The planning department has resources available for those with rebuilding issues, being able to direct them to programs that can assist with renovation projects or even relocation. Questions can be directed to the office during regular working hours at 857-4100.