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City staff to address parking concerns

West Fargo City Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to table any action on a request to enforce no parking on Meyer Drive on the south side of the street, allowing for deliveries only, from West 13th Salon to the corner where JL Beers is located at 810 13th Ave. E. This action was taken to allow city staff a month's time to visit with businesses in the area to arrive at a workable solution and any costs that may be related to it.

The city initially received a complaint from two employees of United Automotive Tech Center, 728 Meyer Drive, asking to be on the agenda with their no parking request. In their written statements, Charlie Lindstrom and John Wagner asked for enforcement of the no parking contending JL Beers new location on Meyer Drive was causing traffic problems due to lack of parking/people parking on both sides of the street. They also noted that daily food and beverage deliveries completely block the drive at times up to 20 minutes due to the parking

situation they described as "very frustrating."

Meyer Drive contains several businesses on its two-block area that connects on both ends with Prairie Parkway northwest of 13th Avenue and Ninth Street East. The road is 30 feet wide, enough for parking on one side with two-way traffic.

Assistant Public Works Director Chris Brungardt and City Planner Steve Zimmer told the commission that city staff has been aware of the situation and their intent is to meet with the businesses in the area and discuss some alternatives to see what can be done to bring this to a satisfactory solution.

Neither Lindstrom or Wagner were at the meeting, but Kurt Jankowski of United Automotive Tech Center, said that he had talked to some of the neighboring businesses and the consensus was not necessarily to get rid of the parking on one side of the street because some of them utilized the space for their employees to park, so their parking lots could be used by customers.

He said he was also willing to look at other solutions, adding the issue needed to be addressed in some way, because blockage of the street could be a real concern in the event of a fire and emergency vehicles needing to get through the roadway.

Zimmer said "a lot of things that are issues are sins of the past," noting the problem has grown because of the addition of new businesses on the block. "We want to work with the businesses to find a solution to this. The immediate fix would be some sort of no parking area on the south side. It would be nice to sit down to see if they have other ideas about what would work best for everyone on the street."

Lance Thorson of JL Beers, said the first time he heard about the issue was last Friday, when he was contacted by the media. He said that the parking is somewhat of an issue and he doesn't have a problem with taking parking off the south side of the street. "I'm not opposed; I'm more than willing to meet to get this thing taken care of." He said he has ample onsite parking for his business with 32 spaces, and plans on getting the striping done once weather allows.

Dr. David Flowers, superintendent of the West Fargo School District, and Karen Nitzkorski, board member, appeared before the commission at the request of Mayor Rich Mattern to provide an update on plans for the May 24 vote on an $82.5 million bond referendum that would finance district-wide building and improvement costs, including expanding the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center into a high school, constructing a new middle school, and two elementary schools, one of which would be built when needed.

Commissioner Duane Hanson, who had previously served on the school board, asked if the bond issue is approved, when the school district would be looking at building again. Flowers responded that if everything proceeds as proposed, the date would be beyond 2017.

Nitzkorski pointed out that on the present bond issue, the school board was able to arrive at 7-0 consensus on the vote, noting that when the process started such was not the case. "We have really come together the last nine months."

Hanson suggested that the commission voice their support for the school district's plan with a formal vote. With Commissioner Mark Simmons absent from the meeting, it was agreed the vote would take place at the April 18 meeting.

In other action, the commission:

-approved first reading of several minor wording changes to a variety of ordinance that are regulated by Fargo Cass Public Health to bring them into conformance with state statue and so they mirror Fargo ordinances, since they are regulated by the same people. They include: Ordinance No. 885 relating to Hotels and Motels, No. 886, relating to Food Service Establishments, No. 887 relating to Child Care Centers, and No. 888 relating to Pet Stores. For Ordinance No. 891 relating to Violations Regarding the Sale of Tobacco to Minors, the penalty for an adult selling to a minor was changed from a misdemeanor to an infraction to conform with state law;

-held a public hearing and approved first reading of a rezoning request for The Wilds First Addition from agricultural to R-1A single family dwelling. The approximate 40 acre parcel, located south of the Nelson Acres subdivision and north of 52nd Avenue South, was originally intended for a privately owned golf course, but due to proposed development costs, that plan was dropped, with the developer, Westport Investments, now proposing to accommodate a single family development consisting of 50 single family lots;

-approved two Renaissance Zone applications requests for Rodney Klein, West Fargo, operating under the business name Roddies Store II LLC, for new construction at 666 and 670 Main Ave. W., that will result in both a local property tax and state income tax savings over a five-year period. Klein intends to construct two 3700 square foot buildings that will house shop and office space, just east of the Speedway restaurant parking lot on the west side of the road that was installed last year. The West Fargo Economic Development Advisory committee also recommended approval of both of the projects;

-awarded the contract for Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1225 to Master Construction Co., Inc., Fargo, with a low bid of $2,789,791.35, for work at the South Pond at the Preserve First Addition.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m., in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.