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Helmut Schmidt, Published November 19 2012

Fargo schools look at growth plans to south

FARGO – City officials say they’re expecting rapid housing growth next summer in three new southside housing developments.

The areas expected to see the quickest growth include, according to information city planners gave Fargo School District officials Monday:

• Eagle Pointe, just east and south of Davies High School, where much of the needed infrastructure is in place.

• Valley View, just north of 40th Avenue South and the Osgood subdivision and south of Urban Plains in the West Fargo School District.

• What planners said was an unexpected development called The Pines at The District, which developers are seeking to have platted south of the Wal-Mart at 52nd Avenue South.

The school and city officials met as the school board starts its next round of long-range facilities planning. Also at the meeting was Robert Schwarz, principal planner for RSP Associates, a planning firm hired by the school board.

City Planner Jim Gilmour said Fargo is seeing continued growth, particularly on the south side and with young families in their child-bearing years.

South Fargo, which holds the bulk of the city’s growth potential, has 1,815 home lots available. Of those, 1,001 lots have sewer, water and streets in place, while 814 sites don’t have infrastructure completed, documents show.

Eagle Pointe has 145 sites available with no building permits, documents show.

About half of the infrastructure for Eagle Pointe is ready, and the other half of the development needs roads paved, Fargo engineer Brenda Derrig said.

The Pines – still in the early stages of planning –could hold 204 homes with half-acre lots, or 367 homes with lots slightly bigger than a quarter acre.

Valley View Addition can hold 326 homes at the low end, and 599 homes at the high end, documents show.

The West Fargo School Board voted earlier this year to build an elementary school in the Valley View area.

Other south Fargo developments with plenty of lots to build homes – most with infrastructure in place – include Deer Creek in the city’s southwest (740 lots), Maple Valley and Legacy (180 each), Davies 2nd (75) and Brandt Crossing (93).

Gilmour said that for the next five years, lots in the West Fargo School District will likely develop faster than in Fargo because they are closer to job growth in the metro area.

Also, all of Fargo’s new developments must be high enough to meet a Red River level of 42.5 feet, in order to protect against flooding, Gilmour said.

The school district’s long-range planning will map out how it deals with enrollment growth, including when and where to build new schools, Superintendent Jeff Schatz said.

“It’s the start of the process,” to get information and “take a hard look at our district,” Schatz said.

That will include demographics studies and an analysis of the district’s facilities, he said.

“I think this is a few valuable pieces in the puzzle” of planning, said John Strand, chairman of the district’s ad hoc long-range planning committee.

The ad hoc group will next with its consultants to create a planning timeline. The analysis of the district’s buildings is under way, Strand said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583