Posted 4/11/12 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
With the Watford City City Council giving its blessing to the first readings for the annexation of three new areas into the city limits to accommodate new residential developments, the big questions facing the council are, “how big is the city going to grow and how many people will ultimately be living within the city limits?”
During its regular meeting on Monday, April 2, the council approved an annexation request from Donna Sundby and Konrad Norstog, for a 50.68-acre parcel south of Watford City in the vicinity of the Terrace Subdivision, as well as a 236.95-acre parcel on the west side of the city which was requested by MRC Development and a 55.23-acre request from Stenehjem Development on the east side of the city west of the Watford City Golf Course. The three parcels total just under 343 acres.
“In 2010, the city did a lot of work on a city master plan that outlined the water and sewer needs that Watford City needed to make to accommodate the growth facing the community,” stated David Johnson of AE2S, a Grand Forks engineering firm. “Those plans will just get the city through this year and now the city needs to consider updating that plan to accommodate the new growth that is coming.”
And according to Johnson, based on the new developments that are being proposed for Watford City, the city could very well see its population grow to 15,000 people.
“We have been discussing which way we want the city to grow,” stated Curt Moen, city planner. “We need to decide if we want to stop the growth at 7,500 people or if we want to envision a city of 15,000.”
It is Moen’s opinion that Watford City could easily hit a population of 15,000 if developers follow through on their plans and the city wants to continue expanding its water and sewer.
“Developers are planning on significant development in and around Watford City with a build-out over the next three to five years,” stated Moen.
But the real question, according to Moen, is whether the city wants to target these new growth areas or to sit back and wait and see what happens.
“We’re moving as fast as we can to get the infrastructure in the ground to meet the housing demand,” says Moen. “The choices that we have are to fill in the area we’ve taken in and get the population to 7,500. Or we provide the infrastructure into these new areas and allow for growth to 15,000 people.”
Regardless of how large Watford City grows, Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, sees the need to update the city’s current master plan.
“We need a plan so that we (the city) can answer the developers as they come to us,” stated Sanford. “There are areas to the north, south and east of Watford City that can be developed.”
And some council members, like Justin Voll, believe that the city needs to be able to have some control over the growth. And that control could come with the expansion of the city’s water and sewer service.
“We have to continue running service into these areas if we want to grow,” stated Voll. “Otherwise the developments are going to occur outside the city limits as they did in the past. Do we want the city limits defined at say 7,500 people and the rest of the development outside the city limits?”
The answer to those questions, according to Moen, would be answered with a new city master plan.
“We can use the plan to help get additional state grant funds to expand our water and sewer,” stated Moen. “But more importantly, it would help us envision what the city will look like.”
According to Johnson, in addition to helping the city look to its future, the new master plan would also provide triggers of what kind of service the city would need to provide for logical growth.
In other business, the city council:
• Awarded the bid for two 2012 Ford Expeditions equipped with police package to Eide Ford (with S & S Motors as agent) in the amount of $31,186.70 each.
• Denied a request from Adam Poppleton of Look At Me Signs to install billboards within the city limits.
•Approved spending $1,000 plus mileage and per diem for the Watford City Park District to hire Steve Neu to provide park planning services.
• Approved a Roughrider Fund, Community Marketing/Enhancement Fund Grant of $500 to the Watford City All Star Basketball program.
• Approved advertising for bids on the extension of city sewer service south, west and east to provide for new developments.
• Approved the submittal of Energy Impact grant applications for a city-wide SCADA system totalling $225,000; a multi-use path from Main Street to 5th Street West totalling $247,099; a receiving station for bulk sewage totalling $96,925; a RV dump station totalling $96,384; and water main replacements totalling $913,452.
• Tabled the review of the annual audit until the May meeting.
• Approved the expenditure of $1,112 by the Watford City Police Dept. to purchase three First Responder bags and four Automated External Defibrillators.
• Approved payment of $1,000 to Crime Stoppers for the anonymous tip reward program.
• Approved the Variance Application submitted by Mike Tschetter for property located at 517 2nd Street NW.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by JW Enterprises, LLC to rezone property located at 1001 4th Street from A-2 to C-1.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Prairie Housing Services, LLC to rezone property located at 2008 17th Ave. NE from A-2 to C-1.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Mak Properties, Inc. to rezone property located in Section 8, T150N, R98W from I-P to C-1.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Pilot Travel Centers, LLC for property located at 1009 11th Ave. SW from A-2 to C-1.
• Denied a conditional use permit submitted by Pilot Travel Centers, LLC.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Stenehjem Development, LLC for property located at Rolling Hills Estate Subdivision from A-02 to R-1, R-2 and R-3.
• Approved the conditional use permit annual review for Jennifer Hovland to continue allowing a Home Occupation for a daycare at 1009 5th Ave. SE, contingent upon the installation of a four-foot security fence equipped with a childproof gate around the outside play area and a circular drive with a designated drop-off area.
• Approved the conditional use permit annual review for Warren Hovland to continue allowing temporary workforce housing at 401 10th Street SE.
• Approved the conditional use permit annual review for BBR RV Park to continue allowing temporary workforce housing at 1000, 1002, 1004, 1008, 1016 5th Ave. SE, 321, 304, 317 10th Street SE, 909 2nd Ave. SE, 911, 909, 1025, 1029, 1033, 1037 2nd Ave. SE, 301 11th Street SE.
• Approved the conditional use permit annual review for Impact of Watford City to continue allowing temporary workforce housing at 305 12th Street SE.
• Denied the conditional use permit annual review for Frontier Wellhead & Supply at 305 12th Street SE because the intended use of placing a 5,000 gallon propane storage tank was never completed.
• Approved the zoning change application submitted by Tim Giles for property located in the Terrace Subdivision from A-2 to R-1.
• Approved a preliminary plat for Stenehjem Development, LLC located at Rolling Hills Estates Subdivision located in the E1/4 Section 17, T150N, R98W.
• Approved advertising for a full-time tax assessor for the City of Watford City.
• Approved a revised Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.
• Approved hiring Conlie Hermanson and Kirk Flaten for maintenance positions at the Schafer Cemetery.
• Approved a step increase for Justin Smith from effective April 16.
• Approved the first reading of an application for annexation submitted by Donna Sundby and Konrad Norstog.
• Approved the first reading of an application for annexation submitted by MRC Development.
• Approved the first reading of an application for annexation submitted by Stenehjem Development, LLC.
• Approved the second reading of an annexation application submitted by Farmers Union Oil Co.
• Approved the second reading of an annexation application submitted by Elemental Development Group.
• Approved the second reading of an annexation application submitted by Greg and Monica Simonson.
• Approved the first reading of a city ordinance setting fees for temporary housing.
• Approved the first reading of a city ordinance regarding the sales prohibited on licensed premises.
• Approved the first reading of a city ordinance relating to adjacent room licenses.
• Approved a raffle permit application submitted by Friends of Isiah Lawson.
• Declared May 1, 2012 as “Red, White & Blue Day” and the signing of the Loyalty Day Proclamation by Mayor Sanford.
• Approved a one-year moratorium on new temporary workforce housing in areas zoned C-1 within city limits.
• Conditionally approved the preliminary plat submitted by F&G Realty Investments, LLC and the Development Agreement between the City of Watford City and F&G Realty Investments, LLC contingent on satisfactory final wording regarding the development of 17th Avenue.
• Approved the preliminary plat submitted by ND Ventures, LLC.
• Took no action on the Wild Acres Ranch Development Proposal due to JWTND, LLC withdrawing its proposal.
• Approved the purchase of one AutoCAD mapping license at approximately $5,000.
• Approved advertising for seasonal help in the Public Works Department.
• Authorized the Public Works Department to help with garbage collection and cleanup after this year’s Homefest and Ribfest.
• Allowed Steve Williams, city building inspector, to provide occasional building inspection services to the City of Arnegard, for a fee to be determined, as long as it doesn’t interfere with his work for the City of Watford City.
• Took no action on casting a proxy vote for the Board of Directors of the ND Insurance Reserve Fund.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Watford City City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 7.