July 14, 2010

City leases minerals under former landfill

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Is there oil or natural gas reserves under the old city landfill that, if developed, could bring some extra money to the Watford City city coffers? No one knows for sure, but during Watford City City Council’s July 6 meeting, council members approved a three-year lease of the 40 mineral acres that the city owns to Empire Oil Company.
According to the lease agreement, the city will receive a bonus of $650 per acre and a 3/16 royalty interest for its mineral interests at the former city landfill site, which is located in NENE Section 26, T150N, R99W.
The city council was also requested by a developer to change the zoning of the Liberty Hills Subdivision, which is located west of the McKenzie County Courthouse from R-4 to RP.
According to Mac Shelton, who spoke to the council via a telephone conference call, he has obtained purchase agreements with all of the landowners of the property and he would like to develop the property with rental units.
“What is needed in Watford City is rental units and apartments to handle the housing needs,” stated Shelton, as he requested a zoning change on the property. “Do you foresee any problems with this?
But according to Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, the city council cannot change the zoning until Shelton has submitted his plans to the Planning & Zoning Commission and a public hearing is held.
“You need to submit a plan to the Planning & Zoning Commission,” informed Shelton. “The Planning Commission will meet on your request and then hold a public hearing. Once that process is done, it will come to the city council for action. Without a plan, it is hard to say what action the city will take. But in the last five years we haven’t had an apartment built in the city. We’re not a town that chases things away.”
In a non-related issue, the council also discussed outdoor dining on city sidewalks.
“We are looking at making sidewalk dining an extension of our dining room,” stated Aaron Pelton, manager of Outlaws’ Bar & Grill. “It’s about creating a mood and atmosphere that is positive to Watford City’s Main Street.”
According to Pelton, Outlaws’ would like to be able to serve food and alcohol on the sidewalk from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Realistically, it won’t be that many days a year that we do it,” stated Pelton.
According to Justin Voll, city councilman, the Ordinance Committee will be working on a permanent outdoor dining ordinance.
“We want to be consistent in this,” stated Sanford. “We might get to the point where we only allow food to be served. It’s a work in progress.”
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the council also heard a complaint from Richard Beane regarding the discharge of fluids from trucks that are using the water salesman.
“The spillage from the trucks is flowing onto my property and has killed one of my 50’ trees,” stated Beane. “The contaminated soil and tree have to be removed.”
According to Beane, who requested that the city redirect the flow of fluids, there is a constant flow of water and other fluid from the area around the water salesman that is making it difficult for him to use his property.
“Legally, the city may not be responsible for the fluids,” stated Justin Voll. “but morally we have an obligation.”
According to Bruce Erickson, city councilman, the city may want to look at redesigning the area so that it is self-contained or relocate the facility to a new location outside of a residential area.
While the council took no formal action, the issue was referred to the Water, Sewer and Garbage Committee for review.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved the Zoning Ordinance Amendment submitted by Watford City Hospitality, LLC located at Sect 18, TWP 150, Range 098, Veeder Estates Subdivision to re-zone the northeast corner of the subdivision from A-1 to R-1.
• Approved the request of the Watford City Chamber of Chamber to have the streets blocked off at 8 a.m. for the Street Fair and allow alcohol on Main Street and the sidewalks for Ribfest from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Aug. 6 with an an alcohol-free area to be provided.
• Denied a request from Rebecca Engebretson to have the city demolish a derelict building located at 321 4th Street NW.
• Approved West Plains Insurance as the city’s agent with the ND Insurance Reserve for the period July 17, 2010 to July 17, 2011 for a premium of $18,156.
• Approved special event permits for Outlaws’ Bar & Grill to serve patio food and alcoholic drinks while dining on their outdoor seating on Aug. 6, 2010 from 5 to 11 p.m. and for D & M’s Office to serve beer and alcohol in front of D & M’s Office for Ribfest on Aug. 6 from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with an adequate separation being provided.
• Approved a request by John Dunlap to use the city’s property south of the Fishing Pond for 45 days as a staging area for construction materials and equipment for the construction of Creekside Second Addition.
• Approved a step increase for Melissa Stompro from Category 3, Step 1 to Category 3, Step 2 effective July 16 and tabled a step increase for Lowell Cutshaw until his evaluation is completed.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance amending Chapter III of the City of Watford City Ordinances relating to bulk water sales.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance amending Article XXVII, Section 2 to Chapter XV of the City of Watford City regarding variances.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance replacing Chapter XIII of the City of Watford City regarding the franchise with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Division of MDU Resources Group, Inc.
• Approved a special permit for Jared Lovaas and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building for the Lovaas/Heiser wedding dance on Aug. 14,  from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
• Approved a raffle permit application for the Wolves Booster Club.
• Approved the notice of a public hearing for discussion on amending the ordinance regarding non-conforming uses to rebuild a legal non-conforming building within their current footprint.
• Approved Mayor Sanford’s appointments of Linda Svihovec to the Lodging Tax Committee to fill the unexpired term for Brent Sanford to June 30, 2013; Kris Pacheco to the Pioneer Museum to fill the unexpired term for Alvin Wold to Sept. 28, 2011; Jim Svihovec to the Planning Commission to fill the unexpired term for Judy Wold to June 30, 2012.
• Approved the purchase agreement with Clint and Dawn Loomer for the property located at 404 4th Street NW.
• Approved the Corporate Authorization Resolution authorizing City Auditor Skoglund, Mayor Sanford, and President Voll as signatories at First International Bank and also Trish Skoglund, Peni Peterson and Lowell Cutshaw as being authorized to make purchases on the corporate credit card account.
• Approved the purchase of automatic check signer software from Black Mountain Software.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 2.