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City approves mutual aid agreement with local law enforcement agencies

West Fargo City Commissioners went on record Monday approving an updated mutual aid policy between local law enforcement agencies including Cass County - the Cass County Sheriff's Department, West Fargo Police Department, and Fargo Police Department; and Clay County in Minnesota, involving the Clay County Sheriff's Department and the Moorhead Police Department.

The agreement calls for these local jurisdictions to work together in emergency situations requiring furnishing personnel, equipment, facilities, or services available, without interfering with the capacity for the assisting department to provide basic police services.

West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rassmussen said it has been several years since the agreement was evaluated and updated, a task accepted by Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan, whom Rasmussen commended for the effort.

Rasmussen said the city has had and continues to have an excellent working relationship with these other agencies and that a big help in continuing the excellent relationship is having an upfront understanding that allows everyone to operate and know in advance what is expected of each other, who is in charge, and how expenses will be paid.

In other action, the commission:

-approved second reading for ordinance no. 854 relating to the city's bench sign franchise. The ordinance now allows a second franchise to participate if they do so before June 2010 at the same fee as allocated for the first provider;

-authorized first reading of ordinance no. 853 relating to landing and take off of aircraft at unauthorized airports, helipads, or other unauthorized locations, mirroring a similar ordinance in place in Grand Forks. RJ's Conoco has made a request for a helicopter pad by their business south of the Interstate. The city has no requirements for such, other than helicopters are an agriculture related use and need to be used for ag purposes.

Consequently, if somebody decided to give helicopter rides they could with no restrictions to flying in and out of the city. Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan said RJ's request sparked discussion with the intent to now restrict that type of activity to something that is approved either by the city commission or emergency services. "We are looking at a temporary situation when someone comes to town to give rides, not RJ's setting up a pad to use," Reitan stated;

-gave final plat approval to Steffes 5th Addition, located north of Main Avenue West on the west side of 7th St. N.W. Frank Lenzmeier, who owns the property, wants to subdivide the existing lot into two lots for sale;

-okayed the final plat and conditional use permit for Inn 2nd Addition, at the former Hi-Ten site on West Main Avenue. The property owner, Ernie Gregoire, wants to sell a portion of the property to allow for storage of ag equipment;

-acting as the board of adjustment okayed a variance request from Dean Groth at 1869 Huntington Court to reduce the rear yard setback for an accessory building. Groth had applied for a building permit which was incorrectly issued by the building administration office for a six-foot setback, instead of the required 12-foot setback, as well as allowing the structure to be built over an existing ten-foot utility easement. When the official realized the error, Groth was instructed to stop construction but had already proceeded to the point where he had laid cement and installed floor heating. These easements are granted on every plat, so there is no written contract, in fact fences have already been installed on many of the easements. Qwest said they would make do if they had to access the easement. The board voted 4-0 to grant the variance;

-okayed a planned until development amendment to allow for accessory buildings at 1904 Burlington Drive, on property owned by Delan Schmidt;

-granted a request for a building permit to John Tassava for a 4,968 square foot pole building at 833 45th Ave. W.

-voted to approve the house at 407 Morrison Street as blighted property so it qualifies as a Habitat for Humanity project that will use federal funds to demolish and rebuild it.

The next regularly scheduled West Fargo City Commission Meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.