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Council denies conditional use permit for temporary housing

Posted 6/16/10 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

With concerns over possible drainage problems as well as after hearing objections from neighbors, the Watford City City Council at its June 7 meeting denied a conditional use permit that would have allowed Craig Nelson to place 18 temporary work force housing units on property that he owns located north of McKenzie Building Center.
According to Lowell Cutshaw, city engineer, Nelson’s conditional use application had failed to come out of the Planning Committee after two meetings and that it now automatically was presented to the city council for action.
“There are drainage issues that we will have to deal with,” stated Cutshaw. “In addition, we do not have an approved fill plan, however Craig is working to develop a plan that the city can work with.”
While Nelson assured the council that the drainage is back to the way it was prior to fill being placed on the site, council members still had their reservations on allowing the conditional use permit.
“We haven’t seen enough of this proposal,” stated Brent Sanford, councilman. “Would this development impede other commercial use on the property?”
According to Cutshaw, the entire parcel, which has been within the city limits since the ’80s, is zoned commercial.
Mayor Kent Pelton was also concerned about the impact that allowing temporary housing on the site would have on other residents in the area.
“I agree that there is a need for housing,” stated Pelton. “But the people who live just out of the city limits next to the proposed site would be impacted. It’s a touchy issue. Someone’s going to be happy and someone’s not.”
While the council may have concerns about drainage issues, Matt Beard, who did the engineering for the project noted that there should not be a drainage problem.
“Drainage is provided by the road ditches,” stated Beard. “And we have two hubs to make sure that things are high enough to allow for drainage. There are good grades throughout the property and the culverts are adequate.”
But according to Ross Sundeen, who lives east of the proposed development and owns property adjoining Nelson’s property, drainage is definitely an issue.
“I can see the runoff has accelerated onto my property since the fill was placed on Nelson’s property,” stated Sundeen. “I have a lot of runoff that I didn’t have before and the runoff now sits on my property.”
Sundeen also stated that it was his belief that the fill that was placed on Nelson’s property was done so illegally and that there are large chunks of asphalt in the fill.
“Until we know the status of that fill, I don’t think the city should be doing anything,” stated Sundeen.
Cutshaw also had concerns regarding the fill material that was deposited on Nelson’s property.
“In addition to the other concerns that we have, the fill that was placed on the property hasn’t been answered to my satisfaction,” stated Cutshaw.
While the council denied Nelson’s conditional use permit for temporary housing, the council looked favorably on a request by Watford City Hospitality Associates, LLC to convert the former B & Z Restaurant into dormitory housing as well as for work force housing.
In granting the conditional use permit, the city noted that the permit will be reviewed in one year  and that Watford City Hospitality Associates must develop a parking plan for approval by the city engineer. In addition a five foot sight-obscuring fence must be installed on the north side of the property and there must be a minimum spacing of 10 feet between the units.
In a non-related action, the city council, after going into executive session, approved the purchase of a mobile home located at 404 4th Street NW from Clint Loomer for $28,000.
The city found itself in the position of being required to purchase the trailer after Loomer was granted a city building permit for the trailer on a lot that was not zoned for trailers.
In other action, the city council:
• Approved a Zoning Variance Application submitted by Brad Wollan for a variance of up to 15 feet from the minimum 4th Avenue NE setback requirement of 30 feet from the north property line for the purpose of constructing a new home located at 329 6th Street NE.
• Approved a Zoning Variance Application submitted by Nellie Celander for a variance of up to 12½ feet from the required 25 foot rear yard setback and a variance of up to 15 feet from the minimum front yard setback requirement of 30 feet for the purpose of constructing a new home located at 105 5th Avenue NE.
• Approved the Preliminary Plat Application for Creekside 2nd Addition submitted by Watford City Hospitality Association for the purpose of building a new housing project on the property.
• Denied a Zoning Change Application ZC-02-2010 submitted by the City of Watford City for a re-zone of property located at 404 4th Street NW.
• Approved allowing the Homefest Committee to block off Main Street at 6 p.m. and to allow alcohol on Main Street and the sidewalks for the street dance during Homefest on  June 25 and 26 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. An alcohol-free area will be provided.
• Approved renewing the Liquor and Beer Licenses and the Sunday Alcoholic Beverage Permits for the period from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 for the American Legion Club, D & M’s Office, Little Missouri Grille, Six Shooters’ LLP, Watford City Bar, Inc., and the Long X Bottle Shop.
• Was presented with information from Kathy Klang regarding the need for park improvements at the Jacobson Park.
• Agreed to allow the Watford City Police Dept. to donate the surplus police equipment to the McKenzie County coroner.
• Terminated the lawn maintenance contract with Dale Wagner and awarded the contract to Kathryn Ruggles for the remainder of the year.
•Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Chapter III of the City of Watford City Ordinances Relating to Bulk Water Sales which stipulates that the resale of bulk city water is prohibited.
•Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Article 5, Section 6-523 to Chapter VI of the City of Watford City which states that the sale or consumption of alcohol is prohibited on city streets, alleys or public ways.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Article XXVII, Section 2 to Chapter XV of the City of Watford City providing for variance changes.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance replacing Chapter XIII of the City of Watford City regarding the franchise agreement with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc.
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance 207 amending Section 1-203 of Article 2, Chapter I of the City of Watford City setting the salary of the mayor at $700 per month and the salary of city council members at $250 per month.
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance 208 amending Section 1-801, Article 8, Chapter I of the City of Watford City Ordinances to increase the number of members to the city planning commission from six to seven.
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance 209 amending Section 1-802 of Article 8, Chapter I of the City of Watford City Ordinances to  set the terms, travel expenses and meetings of the city council as provided by the North Dakota Century Code.
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance 210 Adding Section 1-805, Article 8, to Chapter I of the City of Watford City Ordinances increasing the salary of planning commission members from $20 to $50.
• Approved setting the bond for the city auditor.
• Approved special alcohol permits for Brian Renville and Watford City Bar to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building for the Renville/McGrady wedding reception and dance on June 12 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Michelle Quitt and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the McKenzie County Gymnastics Building for the Quitt/Ralph wedding dance on June 12 from 6:30 p.m to 1 a.m.; Gary Bruins and Outlaws’ Bar & Grille to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building for the Bruins/Schmaltz wedding reception on July 9 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Corey Samuelson and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Watford City Tourist Park for the Samuelson/Johnson wedding reception on Aug. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
• Approved raffle permit applications submitted by the McKenzie County Hockey Club and the Good Shepherd Home Auxiliary.
• Approved allowing churches to pay the residential rate for garbage services effective July 1, 2010.
• Approved advertising for sale the following surplus items: 1981 IHC truck, 1997 Chevy pickup, and a 2000 Dodge Durango.
• Approved hiring Jamie Pittsley and Logan Bemis for summer positions.
• Approved hiring Conlie Hermanson and Kirk Flaten for cemetery maintenance.
• Approved hiring Samantha Schwan for the VOE student position.
• Approved the resignation of Dustin Newman from the Watford City Police Department effective June 17, 2010 and to advertise and fill the police officer position.
• Declared Sept. 8, 2010 as Arbor Day in the City of Watford City.
• Approved replacing the city well at the fairgrounds at an estimated cost of $50,000.
 Motion seconded by Sanford and carried unanimously.
• Approved a sign easement agreement for new Welcome to Watford City signs to be located on properties owned by Stenehjem Development LLP, Don and Ruby Fritel, and Mark and Jess Anne Knutson.
• Approved placing a portable toilet up at the Water Salesman.
• Approved demolishing the old water treatment plant in the Tourist Park.
• Approved the Transportation Enhancement Project Decision Document NDDOT Project #TEO-0027(038) for new city entrance signs.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6.