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City questions strategy timing

West Fargo City Commissioners reluctantly offered approval to a decision document Monday night with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) that will result in the paving of First Avenue and installing a left turn lane onto Eight Street as part of the second phase of Main Avenue reconstruction starting next year.

The end result of the action will be providing a route for daily fuel truck delivery access to the Stop N Go on the corner of Main Avenue and Ninth Street East, by way of traveling Eight Street and First Avenue to reach the destination, instead of using Ninth Street East which is a non-truck routebecause it runs by the high school.

This plan would necessitate the resurfacing of First Avenue between Eight Street and Ninth Street from asphalt to concrete.

The additional work will also mean an additional cost to the tune of an estimated $200,000, which city officials are not happy about.

With approval of the decision document, NDDOT has agreed to contribute $100,000 toward the work, leaving the city to pick up the remainder, from other sources including assessments from property owners in the area.

The NDDOT wanted city concurrence with the project so they can finalize plans next week, otherwise there would be risk of delaying the next phase of Main Avenue reconstruction set to begin next summer on the segment from Sixth Street East to 45th Street East.

City Commissioner Duane Hanson questioned why it took the DOT until now to figure out there was a problem when everyone thought the design plans were in place. "Why wasn't an alternative strategy talked about before now?"

City Engineer Kevin Bucholz said NDDOT officials have had a difficult time determining a truck route.

He said alternatives had been looked at since day one, noting that Stop N Go officials had initially said they would move their tanks as long as traffic could get in, adding the NDDOT had also decided against a buyout.

When asked by City Commissioner Mark Simmons if this was the best option at this point, Bucholz responded 'yes.'

Mayor Rich Mattern said he objected to the plan, but adding at this point the city had no choice but to approve the document, with the threat of the delay. "The state has us by the throat. What choice do we have? Absolutely none. We vote for it or it's delayed."

Hansen agreed saying to Bucholz, "You are our engineer. You're supposed to keep us out of situations like this."

Not wishing to see any work plans on Main Avenue reconstruction halted, Simmons made the motion to approve the decision document. Commissioner Lou Bennett provided the second. Mattern, Simmons, Bennett and Commissioner Mike Thorstad voted 'yes,' while Hanson voted 'no' on the motion.

In other action, the commission:

-okayed first reading of Ordinance No. 899 relating to the dedication of sales tax proceeds, which updated the present ordinance version by adding the language contained in the city's charter, expanding it to the same breadth as the charter;

-approved second reading on the rezoning and final plat approval for South Pond at the Preserve 3rd Addition from agricultural and mixed one and two family dwellings to single family dwellings to provide more flexibility to builders;

-granted second reading on the rezoning of Blocks 1-5 Maple Ridge at the Preserve First Addition, from single family dwellings to one and two family dwellings, that will eventually see Prairie Heights Church and a school located there, as well as a park and some residential lots;

-okayed final plat approval and a land use amendment for Eagle Run 20th Addition from medium density to low density residential for the sale and development of three single family home structures. Located west of Sheyenne Street and south of 36th Avenue West, the property was originally zoned and platted for four-unit structures and replatted several years ago for townhomes. The applicant, Brookstone Properties, wants to replat the remaining six lots of undeveloped property to accommodate the single family structures;

-gave final plat approval to a replat request from Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity for Francis 4th Addition, located south of Fourth Avenue West and east of Morrison Street, that will divide the lot into two parcels for construction of a twinhome with separate ownership. A blighted single family home stood on the parcel and was recently demolished to make room for the twinhome. The minor replat was required since the property was previously split, not allowing for a simple lot split;

-awarded the contract for Sewer, Water, Street and Storm Improvement District #1229, Shadow Creek 1st Addition, to Dakota Underground Company, Fargo, with a low bid of $2,679,694.65;

-awarded the contract for Sewer, Water Storm Sewer Improvement District No. 1231, for work on 7th Street to 31st Avenue to 32nd Avenue, to Dakota Underground Company, Fargo, with a low bid of $735,841.25.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, Aug. 1, at 5:30 p.m., in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. A 2012 Budget Meeting will immediately follow.