December 14, 2011

City Council looks at revamping comprehensive plan

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Less than a year after Watford City received a $13 million grant from the State of North Dakota to improve its water and sewer service into its one-mile Extraterritorial Zone (ETA), the city is already looking at the possibility of growing even more to accommodate new growth.
“Ninety-five percent of the work on the west side of the city is done, and the new sewer lift station should be operational by Christmas,” stated David Johnson of AE2S, the engineering firm hired by the city to coordinate the expansion work.
According to Johnson, the city has $17 million worth of infrastructure projects on line to be constructed  next spring and summer with an additional $5 million in projects that don’t have funding available.
“By combining the efforts of the Western Area Water Supply (WAWS), which is bringing rural water to Watford City, the city could see the total cost of these projects lowered to the $15 million range,” stated Johnson.
And that was good news to Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, who stated that he didn’t want to see the water and sewer projects to the east and to the south of Watford City delayed.
“I don’t want to forego any of these projects,” stated Sanford. “We’re seeing the development more into the areas that we have designated for development.”
With the interest in new growth within the city’s ETA, it was Johnson’s recommendation that the city develop a new comprehensive plan to update the plan that was developed a little over a year ago.
“You’ve already accomplished 90 percent of your current comprehensive plan,” stated Johnson. “I think that it’s time for you to go forward with another plan so that you have it ready in time when the Legislature meets again.”
According to Johnson, the new comprehensive plan needs to also look at the traffic flow within the city and how to connect the new subdivisions that are being planned.
Johnson also indicated to the council that his firm would provide scoping projects to the council at their January meeting that would deal with traffic flows, as well as a U.S. Highway 85 bypass route.
During the Dec. 7 city council meeting, the council also reviewed the tax assessment contract for $36,000 with McKenzie County as well as the Facility Agreement between the city and the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Dept. for jail and dispatch services.
Under the new Facility Agreement, the city’s annual cost for jail and dispatch services with the county would double to $44,000.
In other business, the city council:
• Authorized the city attorney to develop a rental lease for city employees to rent a mobile home purchased by the city.
• Approved increases in the city’s water and sewer rates.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by Hot Iron, Inc. to rezone 20 acres in Section 17, T150N, R98W from A-2 to R-1.
• Approved a zoning change application submitted by T & L Dirtworks, Inc. to rezone portions of the Old West Subdivision, 408 13th Ave. SW, from A-2 to C-1.
• Approved a conditional use permit submitted by CCS Midstream Services, LLC to allow for employee housing at 504 13th Ave. SW of the Old West Subdivision.
• Approved a conditional use permit submitted by T & R Trucking to allow for employee housing in Section 25, T150N, R99W of the Old West Subdivision.
• Approved Mayor Sanford’s appointments of Caralynn Olson to the McKenzie County Public Library Board for three years; Kris Pacheco to the Planning Commission to replace Jim Svihovec; and Jeff Ruggles to the Roughrider Fund.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Watford City City Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday,  Jan. 11.