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Dave Olson, Published September 09 2012

Development near West Fargo middle school draws opposition

WEST FARGO – A group of residents here is concerned about a development proposed near Cheney Middle School that envisions a hotel and convention center as well as other commercial enterprises.

Steven Zimmer, senior planner for the city, said a number of residents have met with city staff to discuss the issue. It is the subject of a hearing at tonight’s meeting of the city’s zoning board.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The land in question, known as the Charleswood 29th Addition, is located to the southwest of the corner of Ninth Street East and 19th Avenue.

The city’s land use plan now depicts the area as an office park, and the hotel use is considered consistent with city plans and ordinances.

However, things like a convenience store and other retail spaces would require a land use plan amendment.

The city has received letters from residents concerned about the proposal. Most contain sentiments similar to those expressed in a letter to the city from Gary and Roberta Rockne.

“Having a hotel/convention center complex, with liquor licenses, would be very detrimental exposure to our children,” the letter states.

“We have numerous other concerns such as traffic congestion, noise, lighting and safety, to name a few,” the letter added.

David Flowers, superintendent for the West Fargo School District, said the district will likely have a representative at today’s meeting.

Flowers said school officials are sympathetic to some of the concerns expressed by residents.

“We would certainly be supportive of any revisions in that plan that take into account the proximity of the large buildings in that complex” to nearby housing and schools, Flowers said.

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Reporter Helmut Schmidt contributed to this report.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555