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Commission listens to grading plan concerns

West Fargo City Commissioners spent a considerable amount of time Monday night addressing concerns about backyard drainage from residents living in the Westport Beach development, south of the Interstate.

Mark Voigtschild said he has problems with water collecting in his back yard due to grading issues, and he requested that the commission adopt an ordinance for penalties for those that are not complying with grading plans.

Several other neighbors adjacent to Voigtschild's property were in attendance to reaffirm similar concerns, bringing along photos to share showing the seriousness of the situation.

There is no city ordinance that forces compliance with the grading plan and there's no city inspection when yards are completed. Therefore, it becomes a civil issue for neighbors to persue if the problem comes to that point.

Voigtschild said he has had a lake in his back yard, which has hindered attempts at seeding or sodding and has caused an excess of mosquitoes because of the standing water.

City Attorney Brian Neugebauer stated that this is not a unique problem, noting there are various times that it happens. "It's really a tough problem for the city to police."

He said the response has been to expend the engineering staff to visit the areas, see where grading is off and see if the neighbors can come up with an agreeable plan to resolve the problem.

He added that Fargo and Moorhead face the same problem.

Voigtschild said he has spoken to his neighors and feels they can perhaps solve the issue, but he would like to see something put in place so it doesn't occur in other neighborhoods.

City Engineer Kevin Bucholz, who has been involved with several other similar situations in the past, said he would arrive at a 'pro and con' list pertaining to the matter that he would bring back to the commission for further discussion and potential action. He said in most instances there is an easy fix, but there are consequences that go along with it, one of them being added expense.

In the meantime, he is working with the Westport Beach group to ascertain ways to resolve the problem.

Mayor Rich Mattern concluded discussion by saying a little common sense in preparing for and completing yardwork and landscaping would go a long way in preventing such problems.

-approved second and final reading of rezoning for Lot 1, Block 1 of Maul's 1st Subdivision, 714 12th Ave. NW, from heavy commercial/light industrial to heavy industrial and also okayed a conditional use permit. The applicants, Terry and Karen Maul, want to rezone the property and obtain a conditional use permit to allow the crushing and stockpiling of crushed concrete. The property is located south of 12th Ave. N.W., east of County Highway 19, and west of the Sheyenne River. The property had to be rezoned from CM to M to allow for concrete crushing and stockpiling as a CUP. The commission approved the request on the condition that stockpiles of crushed concrete are kept at the current height of the buildings;

-tabled action on a bid for a video recording system for the commission room. Only one bid was received on the second rebid for the system - from Media Link, Fargo, at $22,966.37. The commission directed City Administrator Jim Brownlee to contact other local entities, i.e. park board and chamber officials to see if there would be any willingness to cost share for use of the equipment. Midcontinent Communication had donated approximately $12,000 that would be applied to the system. The bid did not include any extra dollars for electrical and labor to operate the system, which would all come in as extra expense;

-awarded the contract for Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1209, Charleswood 25th Addition, to Dakota Underground Company, Fargo, for their base bid of $816,864, with the additional cost for the concrete paving alternate of $141,000 for a total of $957,834. The engineer's estimate was $961,000.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, Oct. 20, at 5:30 p.m., in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.