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Residents agree to wait to resolve traffic matter

The 13 ½ Avenue East access issue has been resolved, at least for the time being, with residents agreeing they don't want to pay, instead they'd rather wait until the owner of the property steps forward and will bear the cost to help remedy their situation.

Approximately two months ago, residents came to the West Fargo City Commission with their concerns regarding the entrance to the new Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Store abutting their narrow street, fearing the additional amount of traffic generated would pose safety hazards for the children in the area.

City officials have been working since that time to come up with a solution agreeable to the residents, after informing them that re-establishing an access point off Sixth Street or 13th Avenue would not be doable because of traffic safety issues that would create.

An alternative was to build a boulevard on the north side of the Dakota Boys Ranch that would run eastward over an undeveloped lot to the entrance off of 13th Avenue in front of the Three Lyons Pub. The cost to construct such a connector would run in the $50,000 range, and if completed now would have to be paid for by the 13 ½ Ave. residents and adjacent business owners.

The other option is to wait until the middle lot is built upon by the developer at an unknown time in the future, and he would then assume the expense for the boulevard.

City Planning Director Larry Weil told commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, he and city staff had met with five residents and one business owner on July 7, with all agreeing they wanted to wait until the developer is ready to proceed so they don't have to share in the cost that would have been assessed to residents and business owners located on both sides of the street.

No action was needed on the matter, but city commissioners said they agreed with the residents decision, adding they felt good about the fact they had done everything they could to help alleviate concerns.

Commissioner Mark Simmons, addressing Weil said "thank you for the extra effort. I'm satisfied we gave everything we could."

In other action, the commission:

-approved second reading for a zoning ordinance amendment to establish a new residential district providing for single family detached and attached structures with front loaded garages on lots less than 50 feet in width;

-okayed a conditional use permit to increase the amount of allowable signage in an agricultural district. Ag Country Farm Services made the request for 76.5 square feet of wall signage for their building located on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, in order for the sign to be read easily by motorists on Main Avenue and within the Fairgrounds. A similar request was granted last year to Soil Conservation Services;

-was informed by Assistant Public Works Director Chris Brungardt of updates to the truck route and vehicle weight class maps which included adding 9th Street East between Main Avenue and 32nd Avenue. Commissioner Duane Hanson voiced his opposition regarding the inclusion from Main Avenue to 13th Avenue, expressing his concern about traffic by West Fargo High School, located on the corridor. Commissioner Simmons agreed, mentioning the issue of cement trucks traveling the route. The board agreed to approve the resolution for the revised map with the exclusion of 9th Street from Main to 13th Avenue as a truck route, but including 13th Avenue to 32nd Avenue.

-after considerable discussion awarded the contract for Sewer and Water Improvement Improvement District 1219 to Riley Bros. Construction, Inc., Morris, Minn., for their low bid of $2,332,575.40 for work from Fourth Street East - 32nd Avenue East to 36th Avenue East. The city had just recently resolved a lawsuit with the firm over 32nd Avenue bridge work. Commissioners agreed to approve the bid after determining there wasn't just reason not to. "We had problems with the bridge, but we resolved them," City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said. "They complied, there is no issue with workmanship." "Let's give them another chance," Commissioner Lou Bennett said. "If Kevin (Bucholz, city engineer) is comfortable working with them, I'm okay," Mayor Rich Mattern stated. The board agreed to accept the bid but monitor how the work goes;

-approved the low bid for Sidewalk Improvement District 6048 for 2010 sidewalks received from Paras Contracting, Inc., Fargo, in the amount of $119,636.14;

-okayed the reappointment of Leighan Aker-Monson and Larry Schwartz to the West Fargo Public Library Board.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m., in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. The next meeting to address the city budget 2011 will be held Monday, July 25, at 5:30 p.m., also in the Commission Chambers at City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.