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Westport Beach Golf Course a 'no go'

Plans for a privately owned golf course in Westport Beach over three years in the making, have been abandoned; instead developers are proceeding in another direction, with a request to accommodate residential development in The Wild's First Addition, located in the southeast quarter of Section 31, north of 52nd Avenue and south of Nelson Acres.

The action was confirmed in a meeting held the end of February attended by West Fargo officials, City Administrator Jim Brownlee, City Planner Larry Weil, City Engineer Kevin Bucholz and Westport Beach LLC officials, Kevin Christianson, president, and Steve Iverson.

Christianson said the golf course idea was taken off the table because "a lot has changed since we started that project. With the economy the way it is and prices haven't helped us, there was way too much involved for us as a developer to make it work. We looked for alternatives and are coming forward with a vibrant development that will be in a flood protected area and have some phenomenal housing opportunities."

He said the first phase of the development that lies north of 52nd Avenue will feature approximately 575 single family lots in a walkable community comprised of "about 22 percent lakes and parks."

In a follow-up letter dated March 3 to Brownlee, Christianson verified that the plat named The Links at Westport Beach First Addition, the area intended for the 18-hole golf course, was never recorded and had been destroyed, therefore nullifying any city association with the parcel which included a contract to install water retention utilities only if a golf course was constructed on the property. The city had agreed to a $2 million commitment as the city's obligation for water retention, but no activity was ever completed and no expenditures paid out.

The letter went onto say that an application had been submitted to the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing to approve the preliminary plat for The Wilds First Addition on Monday, March 14.

The preliminary plat, which must be approved by both the planning and zoning and West Fargo City Commission before activity can proceed, includes single family lots in the first phase of a phased in development.

City Planner Larry Weil said the preliminary plat lends itself "to a more walkable community with green space corridors, and parks spread out through the development."

The letter also served as a formal request for the city to install municipal potable water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer to Lots 2-13, Block 1, Lots 2-27, Block 2, and Lots 2-9, Block 3, by no later than Sept. 16, 2011.

Brownlee said this is a routine request and the normal process for any development seeking the city's involvement in sewer and water improvements and other infrastructure needs.

The public hearing for the preliminary plat of The Wilds First Addition will be held during the regular Monday, March 14, meeting of the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission that gets underway at 7 p.m. in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.