Tempers flare at recent Langdon City Commission meeting

The agenda for the recent Langdon City Commission meeting held on Monday, August 12 resulted in a full house of residents being present.  The meeting lasted for over one hour, and in that time, tempers flared.

Posted 08/15/2019

By Melissa Anderson


The disagreement stemmed from the care and maintenance of the house located at 423 9th Avenue, Langdon, owned by Alex Chaput. Neighbors of the property have approached the commissioners to do something about the property not being maintained. The children of one neighbor are attempting to sell their parents’ property now that they are in assisted living. The property owned by Chaput, they feel, is a hazard. Several of the neighbors attended the meeting and voiced their complaints on the maintenance of the property as well.

“That’s your job as commissioners, to take care of these issues,” one commented.

Langdon Building Inspector Gary Bimler stated that, according to city ordinance, if the house has deteriorated more than 50 percent from new, it’s condemnable and has to be removed.

“If I was looking at it, I would guess it’s at that stage,” Bimler said.

Kim Chaput was present and defended the property stating that the property is not a hazard and is being maintained. The commissioners asked if the house could be considered habitable, to which Chaput replied that he did not see why not. Chaput said that all the neighbors had to do if they had concerns was to talk to the Chaputs.

Besides safety concerns, the biggest request from the neighbors was simply to keep the property clean and maintained. Stanley Gendreau was present to again state that the condition of the property was unacceptable, and despite attempts at communication, nothing is ever done. Fellow neighbors agreed stating that as the property owner, Chaput should be aware of what needs to be addressed.

“I can’t fix everything in a day, and the more Stanley complains, I’m not going to fix it,” Chaput stated.

The Commission redirected the discussion to how the city is working to have the property’s condition and safety concerns addressed, either willingly by the  property owner or through legal means with the state health department.  Langdon City Attorney Quentin Wenzel explained that the rights of the property owner cannot be violated and, as such, protocols have to be followed by the commission.

“I’ve never been in there…. if Kim is willing, we can do a walk-through in the next few days,” Bimler offered.

“We can certainly do that,” Chaput replied.

The Commission decided to have Bimler inspect the property and continue with a follow-up at the next meeting.

City ordinances were again touched on at the meeting. This time, the ordinances in question related to the recent change in North Dakota Century Code relating to shopping on Sundays. Wenzel advised the Commission to review the city ordinances relating to this and amend it to match the century code.

The other ordinance discussed related to food trucks setting up in city limits and if the ordinance on peddler’s permits applies. The issue was brought forward by Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth and Deputy Auditor Frankie Stremick following a locally owned food truck setting up to serve during the CaNDak.

Information gained from those contacted in cities of Walhalla and Grand Forks found that locally owned businesses were not charged a fee to set up while those from out-of-town were charged a $10 transient fee. In Langdon, the fee is $25 and does not differentiate between a locally owned business and one from out-of-town.

After discussion, Wenzel stated that as the ordinance stands all food trucks would be required to pay the $25 fee for a peddler permit each time they set up their truck. Most of the Commission was in agreement to let the ordinance stand, but the Commission does have the option to amend the ordinance to exclude locally owned food trucks from having to pay the $25 fee each time in the future.

In Other Business

• The commissioners heard from Moore Engineering’s Andrew Aakre on the progress being made with the current construction project as well as discussing where the city would like to go for future projects.

• The Commission approved funding requests from the Cavalier County Job Development Authority Executive Director Shannon Duerr. One request was for up to $10,000 for the EMT class loan program. Duerr explained some changes being made this time around that would give more control to Cavalier County Memorial Hospital. Another request was for $15,000 to assist with a grant match for Frost Fire Park as they work to fund the addition to their mountain bike terrain park.

• The Commission approved the annual funding request from the Langdon Area Chamber of Commerce.

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