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City acquires temporary easements for 32nd Ave. bridge

After meeting in executive session for approximately 45 minutes Monday night near the end of their regularly scheduled commission meeting, West Fargo City Commissioners voted to approve four resolutions of necessity and four offers to purchase temporary right-of-ways for separate property owners abutting the project so work can continue on taking out the bridge and installing a box culvert on 32nd Avenue South in West Fargo.

The city needed to acquire more right-of-way to allow the contractor to proceed, after initial digging resulted in the project edging more closely to adjacent property owners than anticipated. Consequently, city officials voted unanimously to condemn temporary easements so that Riley Brothers, a Minnesota based construction firm, can excavate additional dirt to install the box culvert, a move necessary to repair a slide in the river bank.

With the construction getting closer to their houses, one of the homeowners abutting the bridge had requested a buyout of their property because the slide took out their driveway, but city officials have declined the purchase request because the house hasn't been affected. City Administrator Jim Brownlee said it is the city's intent to put the dirt back and reconstruct and restore the driveway and any damages caused by the construction as close as possible to their original condition.

Riley Brothers is asking for $250,000 to cover the additional work, but Brownlee said the cost is undetermined at this time and the city hasn't made any decision on whether it will pay or not.

Riley Brothers has a contract with the city for the work which initially involved replacing the time worn bridge and widening the roadway with a box culvert.

Brownlee said once the project is complete, as outlined in the city's contract with Riley Brothers, a decision will be made on how to proceed, whether it's a change order to the contract or some other means, legal or otherwise.

The cost of the project is being special assessed to landowners in the area. If a change order needs to be completed for additional costs, the increase could also be assessed against the improvement district but the determination on how to proceed will need to be made by the city commission.

In other action, the commission:

-voted to approve the sale of $7,870,00 water and sewer revenue bonds utilizing subsidy Build America Bonds, taxable bonds the government is enhancing the use of by subsidizing with a 35 percent of interest rebate. The sale will result in an $800,000 savings after receiving the subsidy. The bonds, spread over a 25-year plan, are being used to fund replacing almost all of the core infrastructure of the city's sanitary lift stations;

-approved a request for reduction of required parking spaces for an expansion at Advanced Business Methods, at 1515 13th Ave. E.;

-okayed a residential building permit for Trent Ochsner to proceed at his own risk on his property in Selberg's 4th Addition, Lot 8, Block 2. His property is presently in the process of being platted and he wants to begin on work so he can get the structure completed yet this fall;

-meeting as the Board of Adjustment, approved a variance request made by Dave Paulson for his business Dave's Tire, at 1225 E. Main Ave. Plans are in motion for an addition to the rear of the building as well as additions to the existing structure and he is requesting the variance to reduce the front yard setback. Paulson said he had spoken with officials from Moore Engineering and the North Dakota Department of Transportation and they said if the curb remains where it is it will not affect the Main Avenue project. Paulson said if more green space is needed he is willing to plant the trees closer to the building. It was pointed out that the landscaping would have to be adjusted to meet the needs of the Renaissance Zone application approved for the renovation project; in later action, the board also voted to allow a vacation of easement for the new construction at this location;

-okayed the rezoning and first reading of Shadow Wood 3rd Addition from agricultural to multiple dwellings, located north of the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center, along the west side of 9th Street East, south of 32nd Avenue and north along 36th Avenue West. The developer wants to rezone the property to construct 11 buildings, each with 20 apartment units;

-approved first reading of a request for replatting and rezoning Charleswood 27th Addition, from agricultural to planned unit development for single family residential development in a planned gated community. This last action would complete the single family development in Charleswood, with the proposed subdivision located on a peninsula along the Sheyenne River, west of Charleswood River Estates 2nd-6th Additions and northwest of the Oakwood Bend, accessed off the west end of 20th Ave. E. by way of a private drive. The plat has ten lots, with Lots 1-8 intended for high end homes and Lot 9 to contain three attached townhomes. Lot ten will contain the private drive. The entire parcel involves 8.4 acres;

-okayed a request from USA Specialty Marketing for a 30 day tent sale of paintings and artisan rugs in the former Linens -n- Things location at 1500 13th Ave. E.

-gave approval to a request for a PUD minor modification to reduce side yard setback from five to four-and-a-half feet for some lots in a twinhome development located in Westport Beach 4th Addition.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 21, in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.