Fargo to finalize regulations to build along area rivers
FARGO -- A monthslong debate over building setbacks along riverbanks and drains in the city might reach a conclusion Monday night. Fargo commissioners and city staff discussed Thursday what appears to be the final compromise on a permanent morato...
FARGO -- A monthslong debate over building setbacks along riverbanks and drains in the city might reach a conclusion Monday night.
Fargo commissioners and city staff discussed Thursday what appears to be the final compromise on a permanent moratorium for building setbacks.
Commissioners plan to vote on the proposal at Monday's regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall, at 200 3rd St. N.
According to Fargo Senior Planner Jim Hinderaker, the proposal would specify separate parameters for setbacks along the Sheyenne River and the Wild Rice and Red rivers, because the riverbeds have different depths.
For the Red and Wild Rice, development would be prohibited within 450 feet from the centerline of the river - the same approach Cass County has for its setback restrictions, Hinderaker said.
But along the Sheyenne River, which is shallower, the required setback would be calculated based on a formula of 8 feet for every 1-foot of river depth, plus an extra 100 feet.
For example, where the Sheyenne is 20 feet deep, the minimum setback would be 260 feet from the center line of the river, Hinderaker said.
The divisive issue of setback restrictions has drawn heated positions among Fargo leaders and builders, as officials sought to balance the risk of building too close to the river with allowing flexibility for developers and homeowners.
Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, who plans to bring the proposal up for consideration Monday, said the provisions are an acceptable compromise.
"It needs to be done," he said, following the 90-minute work session with staff Thursday. "It should have been done a long time ago."
Commissioners and city staff also discussed a standard program that's being drafted to govern flood buyouts in Fargo.
For the various buyouts conducted along the Red River and the city's drains after recent floods, neighborhoods have been dealt with differently - but city officials want to change that through a formal program.
"Our goal is to establish standards, so we're being consistent, because we're not now," Fargo Engineer Mark Bittner said.
The proposed program continues to evolve with more input and discussion from commissioners and hasn't been adopted yet.
If approved now, the city would offer homeowners 110 percent of their assessed value on properties sought for a buyout, or homeowners could seek a formal appraisal to determine the offer price.
Kristen Daum is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.