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New auto dealership cleared for Eagle Run

The Eagle Run Plaza will soon see a new used auto sales and service business as part of the commercial mix.

West Fargo City Commissioners voted Monday night to approve a request from Ted Hall of Dakota Used Car Center to locate the business in an area west of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue West.

The matter came before the commission after the request had been denied by West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission at their November meeting based on protests from owners of neighboring apartments.

The property was originally platted and zoned for retail commercial lease space in October of 2002; and in 2007, was replatted and rezoned to planned unit development to ensure a cohesive sign and landscape plan in the development while continuing the uses set out in the commercial and corridor overlay districts.

Hall intends to use the property at Lot 2, Block 1 for auto sales and Lot 12, Block 1 for auto service. Auto service is a permitted use within the light commercial district while auto sales is a conditional use.

Building elevation plans call for a new 50x50 square foot building on Lot 2 with the applicant indicating he will incorporate existing design elements to the existing Eagle Run Plaza.

The consensus by city staff was that the proposed use would be generally compatible with the adjacent property and other property in the district with the applicant proposing landscaping, lighting, signage and a building that are consistent with the adjacent Eagle Run development.

Property owners within 350 feet were notified regarding the request with objection arising via emails from apartment complex owners in the area.

Patrick Vesey, a partner in the West Lake Apartment properties, located to the south and southwest of Eagle Run, was present at the meeting to voice protest to the auto center saying he didn’t want his apartments located next to a used car dealership/lot. He said when he was considering his apartment location he selected the area because of its location and neighborhood and the great job of planning the city did. He felt Eagle Run Plaza should be maintained as a retail center providing services and retail options for the surrounding area and region, not a used car dealership, that he felt would be a negative to motorists who would have to drive by to get access to the whole neighborhood. He added that he was concerned if the CUP was granted for the auto business that in the long term their might be a problem if business changed hands.

Hall said he also runs an auto business in Wahpeton and his plans are to run an upscale auto center out of the Eagle Run location. He is complying with all the guidelines set out by city officials in the planning process.

City staff said objections raised could be addressed through granting the CUP can be revisited if any issues arise and an enhanced berm buffer could be established to soften the view.

Neighboring business owners in Eagle Run said they were comfortable with the business locating there saying they want the plaza “to fill out.”

After considerable discussion commissioners voiced support for the complex, saying they had no problem with the integrity an upscale used car dealership would provide to the area.

They voted to approve the request with the stipulation the CUP could be reviewed anytime necessary if there are any problems and that the berm buffer be initiated.

Construction is expected to get underway on the building just as soon as all permits are in place.