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Complaint related to Fufeng annexation filed against city of Grand Forks

Dennis Kadlec, who claims he owns property within the area being annexed, filed the complaint last week, seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of his property.

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The proposed future site of the Fufeng Group project on the north end of Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — A Grand Forks County resident has filed a complaint with the Northeast Judicial District, claiming the city of Grand Forks did not provide adequate notice to him when the city moved forward with a plan to annex property near the city’s northern boundary.

Dennis Kadlec, who claims he owns property within the area being annexed, filed the complaint last week, seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of his property.

“On or around April 18, 2022, the city passed a Resolution of Annexation which sought to annex the real property,” the complaint reads. “The city alleged it passed this resolution in compliance with (North Dakota codified law) 40-51.2-07, which governs annexation by resolution of a city.”

The annexation is part of an ongoing process by the city to bring the agribusiness Fufeng Group to the northern edge of Grand Forks. The company’s proposed corn mill is expected to bring a number of jobs to the county, but it has been met with strong resistance by opponents who are concerned about potential side effects, ranging from its perceived impact to the environment to its ties to China.

The complaint contends that when annexing land via a resolution, “within seven days of the adoption of a resolution … the governing body shall mail, by certified mail, a copy of the resolution to the owner of each parcel of real property within the area to be annexed at the person’s last-known mailing address.”

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City Administrator Todd Feland said notice was not given to Kadlec because records show his property is outside of the annexation area.

“I think his dispute is that he owns the right of way to the centerline of Highway 81 or North Washington and our records show that the state of North Dakota owns that area,” Feland said.    

Further, the complaint reads, the governing body also must “publish the resolution and a notice of the time and place the governing body will meet to hear and determine the sufficiency of any written protests against the proposed annexation in the official newspaper once each week for two consecutive weeks.” The governing body also, the complaint contends, “shall mail, by certified mail, a notice to the owner of each parcel of real property within the area to be annexed at the person’s last-known mailing address” at least 15 days prior to the meeting.

Feland said the city did provide notice of the time and place the governing body met and that Kadlec and his attorney were present at the public hearing.

The complaint notes that Kadlec’s property is within the land noted in the annexation, “but he was never provided the notice and other rights under (North Dakota law). The city seeks to annex Kadlec’s land without complying with North Dakota law.”

Kadlec seeks an injunction to stop the annexation of his property and a “declaratory judgment finding Kadlec owns the property to the centerline of Highway 81 and the city violated N.D.C.C. 40-51.207 in failing to provide Kadlec with the statutory notice.”

The complaint is signed by Ross Nilson, of Nilson Brand Law, of Fargo. Nilson is listed as an attorney for Kadlec.

READ MORE ON FUFENG
Why would anyone want to do business with such an adversary?

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