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Developer requests city off-sale license

Posted 6/13/12 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

A developer, who is planning to bring Coborn’s Grocery Store, a Little Dukes convenience store and gas station, as well an ALCO and a McDonald’s to Watford City, wants the Watford City City Council to amend its current liquor license ordinance to allow for more than one off-sale liquor license.
During the city council’s meeting on Monday, June 4, Joe Ryan, president of the Oppidan Investment Company told the council members that it is critical that he receives an off-sale liquor license for Cash Wise Liquor.
According to Ryan, his investment company already has firm commitments from Coborn’s, ALCO and McDonald’s to be a part of his development plans in Watford City, which would be located at the corner of Highway 85 and Highway 23. In addition, he is developing the 12-acre parcel to include a hardware store, a car wash and other retail space.
But a city off-sale liquor license is needed to bring a Cash Wise Liquor into the development.
“Cash Wise Liquor is a very critical component of this development,” stated Ryan. “The market suggests the need for this business.”
But according to council member Wyatt Voll, the ordinance committee, in denying the request for an additional liquor license, was bound by the current city ordinance, which limits the number of off-sale licenses to one license for every 3,000 residents, according to the last available federal census. Based on Watford City’s census population of 1,744 residents, the city can only issue one off-sale beer and liquor license.
“Your request for an off-sale liquor license is not out of the ordinary,” stated Voll, who chairs the ordinance committee. “But we are bound by the current ordinance. In addition, we’ve denied other requests for additional off-sale liquor licenses in the past.”
But some council members felt that considering the tremendous population growth that the city is witnessing, now may be a good time to consider changing the ordinance.
“It’s about fairness,” stated council member Kris Pacheco. “Now is the time to look at the ordinance since we’ve adjusted other ordinances before to adapt to current changes.”
But even Pacheco admitted that it is difficult to change ordinances that will protect businesses that currently operate within the city and still provide for growth.
In the past year, the city council has adapted its liquor licensing ordinances to provide for more on-sale licenses for restaurants and motels.
But the council has hesitated to change the number of off-sale liquor licenses beyond one, which is held by the Watford City Community Benefit Association (WCCBA).
“The Watford City Community Benefit Association, which was formed 58 years ago was founded with one purpose,” stated Steve Stenehjem, WCCBA secretary-treasurer. “And that purpose was to give back to the community.”
According to Stenehjem, what makes the WCCBA unique from other liquor establishments is that it gives all of its profits back to community projects.
“All of the profits of the WCCBA were initially used to pay off the debt of the hospital and the Good Shepherd Home,” stated Stenehjem. “Since we were formed we’ve given out over $600,000 in our profits to help meet the needs of the community.”
It was through the donations from the WCCBA, according to Stenehjem, that the McKenzie County Multi-Purpose Building, as well as  the Veterans Memorial Building, the Wild West Water Park, and the Connie Wold Wellness Center were possible, to name just a few. In additionally, the WCCBA was instrumental in leading the efforts to make the Long X Visitor Center a reality.
“If you are looking at changing ordinances, we’d like to think you would give consideration to any organization, like the WCCBA, that has given back to the community the past 50 years,” stated Stenehjem.
While the city council took no action on Ryan’s request, the council did refer the issue back to the ordinance committee.
“We (the committee) will be happy to look at it again,” stated Voll. “But I don’t know how we’re going to do it and keep everyone happy.”
In other business, the city council:
• Approved  a request from Laura Sanford, Ribfest Committee, that part of Main Street be blocked off and that alcohol be allowed on Main Street during Ribfest on Aug. 10.
• Denied a request from Larry Signalness that the city demolish two small houses located at 308 and 312 5th Street NE.
• Approved a $3,000 Roughrider Fund grant for the Homefest Committee.
• Approved the renewal of the Beer and Retail Liquor Licenses (on and off sale beer and liquor) and Sunday Alcoholic Beverage Permit for July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 for D & M’s Office, Fox Hills Golf & Country Club, Little Missouri Grille, Inc., Six Shooter, LLC, Watford City Bar, Inc. Watford Hospitality Group,  and the Watford City Community Benefit Association dba Long X Bottle Shop.
• Approved advertising for a Planning Commission public hearing to amend the I-P Industrial Park District to allow truck washes as a permitted use.
• Awarded bids for the Wastewater Treatment Facility Phase 1 Improvements project to Glacier Construction, general construction,  $2,554,553; Williams Plumbing & Heating, mechanical construction,  $50,000; Moorhead Electric, electrical construction, $643,620.
• Awarded bids for the Area 6 Utility Extensions and Improvements project to R.S. Bennett Construction for $1,664,237.
• Approved Task Order #9b (Watford City Wastewater Treatment Facility – Phase 1) for Advanced Engineering for $364,275.
• Approved Task Order #7b (Area 2 - Water Distribution Main and Sanitary Sewer Main Extensions Part B) for Advanced Engineering for $169,000.
• Was informed by Slade Herfindahl, Watford City police chief that from Jan. 1 through April 30, 2012 calls for service were up 102 percent, case reports were up 141 percent, and citations were up 303 percent from the same period last year.
• Approved a $1,000 expenditure to supplement a $3,000 grant to purchase radar and lidar equipment for the Watford City Police Dept.
• Approved the purchase of five ballistic vests for the police department.
• Approved the zoning change application submitted by SkyPath Wireless Network, LLC for 2.43 acres located in Section 25, T150N, R99W, McKenzie County, 2.43 acres from A-2 to C-1 from A-2.
• Took no action on a conditional use permit submitted by SkyPath Wireless Network, LLC as the applicant withdrew its application.
• Approved a variance application submitted by CCAR Properties to allow for a 2-foot side yard variance from the required side yard setback on the west side of the house located at 613 2nd Ave. NE.
• Approved a conditional use permit submitted by Don Moberg to allow for a Home Occupation (barber shop) located at 101 4th Ave. SE.
• Approved a subdivision final plat for Cherry Ridge, Phase 1, submitted by Wild West Investments, LLC for 120.03 acres located in the S1/2 of NE1/4 and NW1/4 Section 26, T150N, R99W contingent upon an approved Development Agreement and proof of bonding.
• Approved a conditional use permit submitted by C & A Realty Investments, LLC, located at 202 3rd Ave. SW, contingent upon the property owner coming into compliance for allowing two RVs on site prior to the June 25, 2012 Planning Commission meeting.
• Was informed that the draft of the minutes of the May 29, 2012 Planning Commission meeting incorrectly stated that the Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use application submitted by Knife River Western North Dakota. The Planning Commission had tabled the application.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Alvin Hanson for three acres located at  1604 11th Ave. SE, Section 20, T150N, R98W, IT 2042 part of S1/2 SW1/4 from A-2  to  C-1.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Tomahawk Pipeline Construction for 20 acres, located at 1920 17th Ave. NE, McKenzie County, 20 acres, from A-2 to C-1.
• Approved a conditional use permit submitted by Tomahawk Pipeline Construction, located at 1920 17th Ave. NE to allow for employee housing.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Wild West Investments, LLC for 44.39 acres located in the S1/2 of NE1/4 and NW1/4 Section 26, T150N, R99W from A-2 to R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4.
• Was informed by Curt Moen, city planner, that city ordinances state that “All required off-street parking areas, including access drives, shall be improved with asphalt, concrete or similar dust-free surface and all parking spaces shall be clearly marked.”  As many lots have aggregate or scoria surfacing which contribute to dust and track out problems, he will notify commercial property owners that they have one year to come into compliance with the paving and striping requirements.
• Approved having Mayor Sanford negotiate with Roger Hoffman for the easement and purchase of land for the sewer extension project and purchasing a small amount of land to relocate the septic disposal site.
• Approved the City negotiate for the purchase of land in the Dahl’s Addition and to pursue a loan for the purchase from the Roughrider Fund, and that if such a loan is not available, to proceed with the purchase.
• Approve step increases for Jesse Wellen, from Category 4, Step 0 to Category 4, Step 1, effective June 1, 2012; and a step increase for Curtis Larson, from Category 3, Step 0 to Category 3, Step 1, effective July 16, 2012.
• Approved the first reading on an annexation application submitted by Wild West Investments, LLC for 120.03 acres of land lying in the S1/2NE1/4 and NW1/4NE1/4 of Section 26, T150N, R99W.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Section 3-304 of Article 3 of Chapter III relating to private sewage disposal.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance adding Article 8 to Chapter VI, relating to contractor licenses with the stipulation that any reference to “general contractor” should be replaced with “contractor.”
• Approved the second reading of Ordinance #271 on the annexation application  submitted by Mark Bragg, Fox Hills Village, LLC.
• Approved raffle permit applications submitted by the Homefest Committee and the McKenzie County Hockey Club.
• Approved the Transient Merchant License application submitted by Bob Pablo’s Tacos N More.
• Approved Resolution 2012-04 authorizing the city to file an application with the North Dakota Department of Health for a Clean Water act loan.
• Approved Mayor Sanford’s appointment of  Shane Homiston to the Planning Commission for a five-year term from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2017.
• Referred the Newfield Production Company oil and gas lease for Block 1, E1/2 of Lots 4 and 5, Original Townsite to Attorney Voll.