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Solberg named city senior planner

Tim Solberg joins the West Fargo planning department as senior planner. Karen Huber / Pioneer

Tim Solberg has assumed duties June 17 as Senior Planner for the city of West Fargo, filling the position left open by the departure of Steven Zimmer to pursue another career path.

Solberg had previously spent six years in the Cass County Planning Department. A native of Grand Forks, N.D., he graduated from the University of North Dakota majoring in Geography with a Community and Urban Development emphasis and a minor in political science. He completed an internship with the city of Grand Forks and worked at the Convention and Visitors Bureau there, before attending graduate school in Geography at UND and then accepting the position of Cass County Planner.

As the city's senior planner, Solberg will be responsible for assistant City Planning Director Larry Weil with all the new development, reviewing building permits to insure they are compliant with zoning ordinances, responding to citizens requests regarding zoning subdivisions, and handling zoning violations.

Solberg currently serves as vice president of the North Dakota Planning Association; is a member of the American Planning Association (APA); and of the county planning division of APA.

Solberg said he excited in his new role as city senior planner stating the biggest draw will be working with and learning from Larry Weil. "We have a really good relationship and the opportunity to work with someone with all that experience will be incredible."

Secondly, Solberg is anxious to be involved with the ongoing development occurring around the city. "It's a planner's dream to be involved at the ground floor level with all this development."

He also welcomes the take-charge attitude that goes along with the position as demonstrated by city administrator Jim Brownlee. "I've known Jim a long time and I really appreciate the amount of responsibility the city gives you and the fact that they are extremely willing to listen to your viewpoints. Its really been a great couple of weeks. I knew I would have the same autonomy as at the county and that is great. They trust you and are willing to give you that chance to do a good job."

Right now, Solberg is busy shadowing Zimmer learning the ins and outs of the position before Zimmer leaves the middle of the month. "Steven is very forward and I am learning a lot about how to work with developers an area I haven't dealt with a lot in the past."

He is also hoping to bring some of his experience from the county to the table, in particular his expertise with GIS mapping and flood plain administration which was a huge part of his old job.

Solberg attended his last county planning commission meeting last week, stating, "I am really appreciative of my work there. I worked with a great group and it was a really good job. I wouldn't have left for any other reason than to come to West Fargo. Keith Berndt and Jason Benson were excellent mentors and the county commissioners were all so supportive."

Speaking on behalf of the city, Brownlee said "West Fargo is extremely lucky to get Tim Solberg as senior planner. He comes to the city with an extensive background in planning as the prior Cass County Planner. We feel Tim will be able to step right in and do a great job."

Planning Director Larry Weil agreed. "The city is very fortunate to have Tim work for us. He was with Cass County for several years, so he is very familiar with West Fargo. Tim has good skills in GIS, planning, and working with the public, so he will be an asset to the city."

Solberg said once he gets a little more established in his position he will also focus on community involvement.

He and his wife, Marisa, are the parents of an eight-year old son, Will, and triplet daughters, Lola, Lauren and Lucia, 7-years-old, all attending Freedom Elementary School.

The family is members at Bethel Evangelical Free Church, Fargo, where Tim is active in the men's fraternity group.