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Commission settles on land condemnation case

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The West Fargo City Commission voted Monday night to settle a land condemnation case for $11,000 with Kevin and Delight Swingen, who live at 115 32nd Avenue East.

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During construction in 2009 that involved installing a box culvert to replace a bridge on 32nd Avenue, the city condemned land of the Swingen’s for a temporary construction easement to have 

access to complete the work.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee said the city typically pays $500-$800 an acre for such easements.  The Swingen’s contended that it should have been more.

The City Commission met in executive session during a special meeting Feb. 25 to discuss the litigation. A settlement agreement of $11,000 was proposed and offered to the Swingen’s through their attorney and it was accepted. The commission went on record Monday night authorizing the settlement amount.

There is also another case currently pending in Cass County District Court where the Swingen’s are seeking damages from the city and contractor.

In other action, the commission:

-gave first reading to an amendment of the city’s liquor ordinance to add a portion of  Blue Stem Drive;

-okayed a request for permanent signage prior to construction of a building owned by Gate City Bank at 837 31st Ave. E.  Gate City officials want to proceed with construction as soon as possible this spring at their new location on Veterans Boulevard and will have everything in place to request a building permit around March 28. They want to start work on the sign immediately so so they can get it in place to let people know their bank will be located there. They also committed to taking the sign down as well as all associated expenses that would go with it, if something goes wrong during the construction phase that would warrant its removal. The sign will be similar to the one at Gate City’s Ninth Street West Fargo location;

-following a public hearing approved first reading for rezoning from light commercial to planned unit development for Lot 4 and 5, Block 1 at the Preserve 3rd Addition to allow for an off-premise sign that would give businesses to the back signage visibility from Veterans Blvd.;

-following a public  hearing approved first reading and rezoning for River’s Bend at the Preserve 1st Addition from agricultural to single family dwelling for a 65-acre parcel for single family development. The motion also included making sure there is access for a land owner living adjacent;

-following a public hearing, tabled a new property tax exemption request from Diversified Welding Inc., a Butler office park based business, whose lease is up at their current location and are out of space. They want to build a new 12,000 square foot building in Christianson’s 2nd Addition. The matter hasn’t gone through the Planning and Zoning Commission yet, but the public hearing for the property tax exemption has already been advertised, therefore the need to conduct the public hearing. Director of Economic Development and Community Services Mark Vaux asked for the motion tabling the matter until the item can come before the Planning and Zoning board for their review and action on the location request. If it passes that group, then it will come back to the City Commissioner for their consideration and action. The Economic Development Advisory Committee already voted in favor of the property tax exemption;

-offered second reading and final plat approval to a request to okay rezoning from agricultural to one and two-family dwellings, limited multiple dwellings and light commercial; and a land use amendment from general commercial to medium density residential for Strawberry Fields 1st Addition.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.

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