« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Wendy Reuer, Published December 03 2013

Fargo planners approve development at I-29 and 52nd Avenue South

FARGO – A controversial 148-acre housing and commercial development proposal in south Fargo was approved Tuesday by the Planning Commission after owners amended the plan to suit most of the homeowners in the area.

Christianson’s First Addition is a proposed development that includes office space, apartments, townhomes, single-family homes, an assisted-living facility and a large commercial space on the northeast corner of Interstate 29 and 52nd Avenue South.

Jade Rosenfeldt, an attorney representing several homeowners in the nearby neighborhood of Meadow Creek, sent a letter to Planning Commission members before Tuesday’s public hearing that voiced residents’ concerns.

She said residents wanted Lot 25 in the southeast corner of the development to be changed from “general commercial” zoning to “general office,” which was approved Tuesday.

Rosenfeldt also asked the Planning Commission on behaf of the residents to set provisions in the plan that would prevent a gas station or restaurant with a drive-thru – such as a fast-food restaurant – on Lot 27, the southeast corner of the development just off 52nd Avenue South.

She said such businesses often have longer operating hours or are open 24 hours per day, and residents are concerned it will add too much traffic to the area.

Kevin Christianson, owner of developer Paces Lodging Corp., said a “buffer zone” of single-family homes was added between the planned developments and established neighborhoods to accommodate resident concerns.

He said he is unwilling to accept limits on what types of businesses could be on Lot 27.

“We’ve worked hard to try and make things work in this development,” Christianson said. “We’ve given up a lot to the east to try and work with the neighbors. The property they are asking us to put more restrictions on is over 700 feet away from homes. They have the same uses to the south, which is about 330 feet away. I think we’ve made enough concessions here to make it a real good development for the area.”

City planners originally opposed a plan that would have included 900 apartment units. It now has about 200 apartment homes and more single-family homes.

Planner Joe Nigg said his department now supports the plan. While the initial proposal generated a petition with 378 signatures in opposition, Nigg thinks much of the contention likely dropped when plans were changed to ease neighbors’ objections.

“It’s hard to say how much of that opposition still exists,” Nigg said.

Since the development was introduced, rumors have swirled that a big-box retailer such as Super Target would fill the large commercial space.

Christianson and Nate Vollmuth, director of development services for Paces Lodging Corp., said no tenants have yet committed to the project.

Nigg expects to bring the project to the City Commission for final approval by the end of December or early January.

If approved, Christianson said construction would start in the spring.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530