West Fargo will not further reduce special dues for the mansion – InForum
WEST FARGO — Despite objections, the West Fargo City Commission did not choose to further reduce special assessments on one of West Fargo’s largest homes, but reduced the assessment amounts on the average West Fargo home .
The city commission approved Special Assessment District 2250 at a special meeting on Thursday, October 13.
District 2250 is the City of West Fargo’s special assessment district for the completed $70 million Sheyenne Street Road Project, of which approximately $32.2 million will be paid for by special assessments.
Earlier estimates called for about $26 million of $60 million to be paid by local funds. The project rebuilt the Interstate 94 interchange in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Transportation and widened Sheyenne Street from 13th Avenue to 40th Avenue South.
West Fargo City Attorney John Shockley said he “strongly encouraged” the commission not to take public comment because the meeting was not a public hearing. Residents were asked to submit any objections in writing to the city before last week’s public hearing on Thursday, October 6.
Mayor Bernie Dardis said of the more than 6,000 parcels in the Special Assessment District, the City Board received six written objections, one of which was from attorneys for Tevye LLC, owner of what is believed to be the one of the largest homes in West Fargo.
The Special Valuation Commission initially assessed the Tevye property at $71,100.
Tevye’s attorney objected to the original amount, arguing that the property was in an already established neighborhood, which would require a different formula.
The Special Assessment Board, in response, reduced his assessment to $23,000. At a commission meeting on Oct. 6, Tevye’s attorney, Tami Norgard, argued that the amount should be even lower, at around $6,000 or $7,000.
When Tevye LLC planned to build a multimillion-dollar property along Sheyenne Street South, city officials publicly warned homeowners that the property would be valued at a hefty amount, potentially up to $1 million, to help pay for the expansion of Sheyenne Street.
The home owner and head of Tevye LLC is Michael Chambers, executive chairman and co-founder of biotech company Aldevron.
Shockley said Thursday that staff did not recommend any further reductions on Tevye’s special ratings.
“We just don’t see the basis for further reductions on this package,” Shockley said.
Special assessments are calculated by formulas created by the city that are not based on the value of buildings but rather on factors such as lot size, building type, and zoning of the area.
The average homeowner or property owner of 2 acres or less will pay an appraisal of approximately $3,000 over 25 years unless the owner pays the full amount of the appraisal within 10 days of final certification of the district.
Deputy City Administrator Dustin Scott said that amount was “significantly reduced due to the policy change approved in June 2022.”
The city commission also approved a “cap” on apartment buildings on Thursday as an incentive for future builders.
Staff recommended that the excess cost of the cap be then paid from sales tax funds for economic development to further encourage the construction of multi-unit housing in the city.
“The reason is that the overall city plan is really trying to encourage multi-density housing,” Shockley said.
Homeowners can pay their special assessments by October 24 to avoid accruing interest. Those who wish to appeal the final decision of the municipal commission can do so by filing an appeal in the district court.
Readers can contact West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at [email protected] or 701-241-5530. Follow her on Twitter