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West Fargo to adopt revised developer's agreement

West Fargo City Commissioners approved Monday night an Improvement District Agreement and gave first reading to an amendment of City Ordinance No. 860 that will result in policy seeing the city review and tailor individually each future developer's agreement request that comes before them requiring security that would satisfy the city's interest in the respective agreement.

City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said it was time to conduct housecleaning of the ordinance which was outdated and had not seen changes in the past 20-30 years. As it read, the ordinance offered three options for developers wishing to do improvements. The new version will offer a "one size only agreement" which city commissioners will have to review and sign off on as each request is presented.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee told the board that the agreement used to require a development bond, and then a letter of credit, the latter of which is now extremely difficult to secure, a statement supported by Todd Zabel, President of State Bank & Trust, West Fargo, who was on hand to explain and answer questions regarding letters of credit.

Brownlee said that "as a city, it is prudent we have some security," so he said the amended agreement will take away the letter of credit option and instead call for developers to put up a personal promissory note backed by sufficient funds to secure the city's position. "I think it's a fairly good alternative for the city and I'm comfortable with it."

The commission concurred that the agreement would specifically state that bids for approved development requests would not be awarded without a signed and executed agreement.

In other action, the commission:

-following a public hearing, placed on first reading the rezoning of Shadow Wood 4th Addition located west of Veterans Boulevard on the north side of 36th Avenue East, from special single family dwellings to planned unit development, to allow for a little more flexibility. The detailed development plan will be brought before the commission at a later date for their review and action.

-following a public hearing, approved the assessment lists for Water and Sewer Improvement Districts No. 1201, 1204, 1205, 1209, and 1215, Water Improvement District No. 1202, and Street Improvement Districts No. 2201, 2202 and 2206.

-awarded the bid for the 2010 First Street tree planting project to Kroshus Landscaping of Fargo with a low bid of $28,800. The commission had previously approved the work for which the city had received a $25,000 grant from the North Dakota Forestry Department. The amount over the grant received will be paid for from the Forestry Department budget.

-reviewed the 2009 Fund Activity Statement in advance of the state audit which will take place sometime in May;

-okayed a development sign agreement to allow a sign announcing the Shadow Wood Development within the city right-of-way median at the intersection of Veterans Boulevard and 36th Avenue East. The developer was granted a permit from the city for use of the right of way and bears all responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the sign, per the city's sign ordinance. The agreement also gives the city the right to revoke the permit if the developer is in any type

of violation.