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Second gated community plan moves forward

A second gated community is one step closer to building this spring in West Fargo.

The City Commission approved plans for the Stonewood development after a public hearing on Monday. The gated community of 11 lots, or 10 high-end homes, is near 32nd Avenue East in West Fargo near the Maple Ridge neighborhood.

Stonewood is the second gated community planned for the metro area and in West Fargo. Charleswood Peninsula began selling lots earlier this month.

Many residents have emailed the city staff in both opposition and support of the plan.

At a March 10 planning and zoning committee meeting, about 50 neighbors attended to voice their concerns about the Stonewood proposal near the Sheyenne River.

Some residents at the meeting were concerned the gated community would increase property values. In correspondence with the city commission, City Assessor Wanda Wilcox said values would not immediately shoot up because of a proposed gated community.

“Unless it is a negative influence which causes numerous property owners to immediately sell; it takes years before enough sales are generated to make an assumption that a particular area needs to be increased in value because of a neighboring factor,” Wilcox wrote to the commission.

On Monday, one resident spoke against the development, saying she was concerned the development would change the “feel”of her neighborhood.

Developer Mark Buchholz said he has worked with residents in the area to directly address their concerns including using a privacy fence in the design that a consensus of neighbors agreed on.

“It sounds like you’re doing a lot quite honestly,” Commissioner Mark Simmons said of Buchholz’s efforts to work with neighbors.

The City approved the first reading of the development changes. It must undergo a final approval before construction can begin.