February 13, 2013

Council approves preliminary plat for new subdivision in northwest corner of city

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

After being initially denied by the Watford City Planning Council, a preliminary subdivision map for a new residential area that could provide apartments, townhomes and single family homes for 502 people in the northwest corner of Watford City received the blessing of the Watford City City Council on Monday, Feb. 4.
“We’re excited to be in Watford City and we want to develop the best development in town,” stated Adam Berger, portfolio manager with Consolidated Investment Group of Englewood, Colo., who is proposing the 42-acre Valley View development.
According to Berger, the planning commission denied the initial preliminary subdivision because of homeowner objections of the location of the apartment buildings. But after meeting with the planning commission members, as well as concerned Watford City residents, Berger believes that they have come up with a new plan that is even better.
The new plan, according to Berger, shifts the development of new homes to an area adjacent to the existing neighborhood, and by altering the layout of 6th and 7th Streets in the new development, the company is proposing to move the apartment area and distribute traffic better.
“We are trying to meet the near-term and long-term housing needs for families in Watford City with this development,” stated Berger. “And we want to meet that housing need in an affordable manner.”
Because of the large number of people that could potentially be living within the development, Berger also noted that the preliminary plan would provide for five points of access into the property.
“Our plan is to put the infrastructure, such as roads, lighting, etc. in the development and then sell the lots to builders,” stated Berger. “But we are also considering doing actual vertical construction ourselves.”
But Rob Roles, who lives on 4th Street, which would become one of the major roads in and out of the development, is concerned with the volume of traffic that city street would see.
“Fourth Street is pretty narrow right now,” stated Roles. “You currently have to drive down the middle of the street because of parked cars. And if there is going to be a big increase in traffic, I don’t think this is safe.”
Curt Moen, city planner, did acknowledge that 4th Street has been identified by the city as becoming a major arterial roadway running east and west and that the city may have to look at limiting off-street parking in the future.
“Rob is right,” stated Moen on the impact of increased traffic on 4th Street. “But it’s a nature of growth. It is going to impact someone.”
Developing the city’s road system is one item that is high on the city council’s agenda. And according to Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, it is an area that the city is hoping the state will be able to provide financial help with.
“We need $110 million for road improvements in Watford City to meet our projected growth,” stated Sanford. “And we’re not going to get it. So that means the city is going to have to prioritize in and out of the growth areas.”
Sanford also noted that this area of town has been one that the city council has been hoping to see developed.
“We have been hoping to see this parcel of land developed for the past three years,” stated Sanford. “It is the closest piece of property to our existing city limits and it is something that we can work with.”