BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Jim Deitz believes he's creating a Grand Forks landmark, but the downtown apartment house he's painting one polka dot at a time is making a city planner cringe.
The retired house painter on Tuesday was putting the final polka dots on his home-turned-apartments, where passers-by have been gathering to watch him work and to request colors from his palette of a dozen cans of brightly colored paint.
"Pizza delivery drivers won't have any trouble finding this place," Deitz said of the century old-two story home that houses six apartments. "You can't miss it."
The house is next to a church, a fraternal organization building and a new low-income apartment complex. Deitz and the city had negotiated a deal to buy out the property to expand the low-income housing facility.
Deitz said he was offered $100,000 for the home a year or so ago.
"They were going to buy me out and they backed out," Deitz said. "I want $150,000 for it now."
Ryan Brooks, the city's senior planner, said the polka dot house is an eyesore and that he thinks it's Deitz's way of protesting the city's decision not to buy the property.
"It's hard to say what this gentleman's true motives are," Brooks said. "I think my opinion is the same as everybody — I wouldn't want to be living next to it."
Brooks said the city doesn't have a code that forbids homeowners from painting their houses in certain colors or schemes, however garish.
Deitz insists the polka dots are meant simply to brighten up the neighborhood and are not as a form of protest.
About eight tenants live in the home, and none mind the new paint scheme, he said.
"I got people waiting in line to get in this place," he said.
Deitz researched several different paint jobs before picking the polka dots.
"I looked at all kinds of crazy paint jobs on the Internet and came up with this polka dot deal," Deitz said. "She looks good."
Brooks believes the polka dots won't migrate to other neighborhoods in the city.
"I don't see this as a trend because most people take a little pride in their homes," Brooks said. "The paint he's putting on that thing is the only thing new on it. It's in rough shape."
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