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Published June 20 2010

West Fargo Commission to discuss thrift store

West Fargo officials aren’t sure what to expect at Monday’s commission meeting after only one resident attended a briefing last week with city staff to address concerns over a new thrift store’s entrance.

More than a dozen West Fargo residents living on 13 1/2 Avenue East first raised fears in early May that the new Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch store, at the corner of 13th Avenue and Sixth Street East, might draw large amounts of traffic.

The store’s entrance is off 13½ Avenue – a narrow residential street flanked by a row of townhomes. City officials have been trying since then to find a workable solution for the residents.

The most preferred solution seems to be construction of a boulevard that would connect the thrift store with an entrance off 13th Avenue that lies a few hundred feet east, in front of the Three Lyons Pub.

Notices were sent to the two-dozen residential properties on the avenue to inform residents about Thursday morning’s meeting with city staff, but only one resident attended, said Larry Weil, West Fargo planning director.

Weil guessed Thursday morning’s storm might have prevented more from attending. The storm caused massive flash flooding in much of West Fargo, including residential areas close to 13½ Avenue.

Despite no known consensus from residents, West Fargo commissioners are set to discuss the issue at Monday’s meeting, which begins at 5:30 at City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E.

Two weeks ago, West Fargo Administrator Jim Brownlee told commissioners that city staff was then preparing to meet with the residents and had compiled a number of options to share.

Brownlee said that to construct an extended boulevard between Dakota Boys and the Three Lyons Pub would cost about $52,000, according to West Plains Mall LLC, which is the owner of the lot that has yet to be developed between the properties.

Brownlee had informed the commission of three options:

Dakota Boys officials have said they would have on average about 60 cars a day accessing their business, compared to city officials’ estimate that an average of more than 120 vehicles already use 13½ Avenue because of the residents living there.

Weil said adjoining commercial properties – such as Dakota Boys – haven’t voiced a preference on the outcome to the problem.

But owners of West Plains Mall LLC are not prepared to front the cost of the driveway, Weil said.

“They indicated that they’d be willing to work with everyone if that assessment would be spread both ways, but they certainly wouldn’t support putting it in in advance all on their own,” Weil said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541