Posted 3/14/12 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
New homes, apartments and a new truck stop will soon be going up in Watford City as the Watford City City Council approved the annexation of three new parcels of land during its March 5 meeting.
During Monday night’s meeting, the council approved the annexation and subdivision plat of land northwest of the city for residential development by the Elemental Development Group of Henderson, Nev. and another annexation and subdivision plat by Greg and Monica Simonson of Watford City.
The two new housing projects, which will provide for a combined 400 units of multiple family and single family homes, is expected to provide housing for 1,000 people.
“We’re excited about these two new housing projects,” stated Curt Moen, Watford City city planner. “While the housing density is higher than we would like to see, it will help meet our immediate housing needs”
According to Moen, the two new developments are within reach of the city’s extended water and sewer lines, which make the properties ideal for residential development.
Moen is also anticipating several other housing development projects to come before the city council in the near future as the city extends its water and sewer lines.
Future city growth will be limited by how much land the city council is willing to annex. But according to Moen, the city is already looking at limiting the direction of city growth.
“We want to keep the land north and east of our current city limits as pristine as possible so that they can be used for future residential growth,” states Moen. “We know that we can expand our ETA farther to the north and to the east and that is where we are extending our water and sewer lines.”
But according to Moen, the city is not considering extending its ETA any farther south than its current boundary.
“The area south of the southern border of the ETA has already seen too much industrial and commercial development,” states Moen. “We don’t want the city to inherit what the county has already allowed to happen in that area.”
According to Moen, because of limits to the city’s lagoon system, the city council is working to develop an infrastructure plan that will accommodate a population of 7,000 people.
“A population of 7,000 people within the city limits of Watford City within the next couple of years is a very comfortable level for this community,” says Moen. “At that population level, we will see the kind of commercial and residential development that we want and still be able to retain the small town feel of Watford City.”
During Monday night’s meeting, the city council also approved the annexation of 12.9 acres of land on the south side of the Highway 23 Bypass for the development of a new truck stop by Farmers Union Oil Company of Watford City.
The topic of a proposed U.S. Highway 85 Bypass south of Watford City also drew considerable public comment during Monday night’s meeting with the city council ultimately agreeing to send a letter to the North Dakota Dept. of Transportation stating that the city no longer wanted the substation road (25th Street NW and 128th Ave. NW) to be considered as a preferred bypass route.
“I don’t know if we (the city) could have done anything to make everyone happy in the process of identifying a future bypass,” stated Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor. “We were told to submit a corridor, which we did. The substation road was never intended to be on the submitted map. That road is not going to be a preferred route by the city.”
“We want something in writing that says that this will not be an option,” stated Pat Olson, the spokesperson for the homeowners who live on the substation road.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 6 p.m. on Monday April 2.