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West Fargo to revamp parking rules

WEST FARGO—The city plans to revamp its parking rules to help make the streets easier to clean in snow and shine.

Current city ordinance allows vehicles or trailers to be parked in one spot for no more than 72 hours.

Public Works Director Chris Brungardt said the snowplows and street cleaners have to work around the many vehicles, trailers or boats and RVs that are parked on residential streets for up to three days or more.

He said because the ordinance does not specify how far a vehicle must be moved after 72 hours, some people will just roll the vehicle a few inches, something Commissioner Mark Simmons said he receives complaints about often.

"We have an individual who will go out and move their car just three inches," Simmons said. "All it's doing is it's a nuisance. It's just bizarre. We don't have many, but we do have a few that play that game."

At the City Commission meeting on Monday, March 5, Brungardt asked the commission to consider drafting an ordinance that bans parking on certain streets from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days that coincide with garbage pickup. He also suggested considering even/odd day parking bans or similar requirements. Brungardt said in times of snow removal or street cleaning, it would help clear the way for snow plows.

"If we come through on the garbage day, we could clean the road from curb to curb," Brungardt said.

Commissioner Mark Wentz said newer developments that have denser housing on narrower streets show better parking regulations are needed as vehicles can clog the smaller streets quickly.

Police Chief Heith Janke said while his department investigates when complaints are made, enforcement can be time consuming.

"It absolutely takes resources to go out on these complaints," Police Chief Heith Janke said. "Something could be done to stop the games, so beefing up the ordinance a little bit would help."

City Attorney Jon Shockley said the ordinance has not been updated since it was first created decades ago.

"Years ago the ordinance was drafted when the city had less than 10,000 people," Shockley said.

Simmons suggested the city consider adding a requirement that vehicles be moved at least 100 feet every 72 hours to start.

"Otherwise, we get on a roll because of the weather like now but then come springtime, it gets forgotten," Simmons said.

Shockley hopes to draft the amendment of the ordinance by the city's next meeting on March 19.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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