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WF Commission wants property to stay commercial

By a unanimous vote, West Fargo City Commissioners turned down a request Monday night from Osgood Investments LLC for first reading on the rezoning and land use plan amendment from general commercial to high density residential that would allow for apartment buildings on approximately 6.12 acres of land in the second addition of Oak Ridge, located east of 4th Street East and south of 32nd Avenue East.

The area was annexed in 2005 and the comprehensive plan has the area designated for commercial use. Developers now wanted to change zoning to allow for multiple dwellings by platting a portion of a larger tract.

Senior City Planner Steve Zimmer said the first order of business before this could be accomplished would be having the land use plan amended. He explained that the request came to the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission last month, who denied the land use amendment request on the basis that the parcel should remain commercial deeming that status the highest and best use for the parcel.

The item was then sent on appeal by the developers to the city commissioner for their consideration and action.

Steve Iverson, director of development services for Osgood Investments, said he felt an apartment complex would be a good transitional use with the property located about a half mile from Veterans Boulevard. "With the growth plan, we don't believe it is right for you to hold our project to a different standard when you've deviated several times," adding that the project would generate thousands of dollars of additional property tax revenue per year when completed.

Kevin Christensen also speaking on behalf of Osgood Investment, which owns other parcels in the area including the planned Oak Ridge Development, said his group has tried to be good developers in that area and feels the apartment complex would be an appropriate use and that it would make sense by the demand for the product proposed.

City Commissioner Mike Thorstad said he was very apprehensive about giving up any commercial space, also questioning the need for any additional apartment complexes with several already located in the area. "We have limited area (commercial) as it us, and this area is very limited in its infancy in being developed commercially. I don't believe we have a real shortage of multiple housing in that area and I don't believe we have a huge demand."

With that statement made, Thorstad made the motion to deny the request, with Commissioner Mark Simmons providing the second. The board voted 5-0 to deny the request.

In other action, the commission:

-approved a resolution for the refunding of $9,960,000 in improvement bonds, Series 2011C to Morgan-Keegan, of Memphis, Tenn., with a low bid of 3.29 percent, for a 25-year issue;

-okayed a request from Wayne Welle for a permit prior to a PUD amendment and simple lot split being approved to build a twin home four foot wider to accommodate a basement access from the garage for a storm shelter and mechanical room for lots 7 and 8, 1944 and 1946 Burlington Drive;

-approved a planned unit development request from Mark Richman for a farm chemical distribution facility in Knutson's First Addition at West Main Avenue, west of 21st St. W. and north of the I-94 ramps;

-okayed a planned unite development amendment for Moore Engineering so they can expand their office space by 8,000 square feet at their location on the corner of 10th Avenue East and 9th Street East;

-gave final plat approval to a replat of Westport Beach 8th Addition made by Rob Jordahl so he can build single detached family units instead of twinhomes;

-approved a conditional use permit request from James Martin for an addition onto a single family dwelling in an agricultural district, located west of Sheyenne Street on the north side of 52nd Avenue for the proposed 1,200 square foot addition onto the home.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday. Aug. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.