Letter: I urge city officials to hold Roers and the Diocese to their contract

Harold Thompsen, a member of Fargo's Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, writes about Roers' failure to construct a promised buffer of townhomes as part of a full-block development next to North Dakota State University.

A person holds a letter with the text "letter to the editor" overlaid on the image.

The following letter was submitted to the Fargo City Commission and shared with The Forum:

I recently received notice from Roosevelt Neighborhood Association leadership of your request for comment. Please know that I do not support any proposal from Roers or the Diocese that would modify, postpone or eliminate the townhomes approved by the City Commission at the St. Paul Newman Center project.

As you recall, the RNA supported the Diocese in its efforts to replace the Newman Center with a new chapel and a limited number of faith-based apartments.

The RNA didn't support the height and density of the student apartments on the south side of the block. Our objections were based on the facts that apartments were too tall, too dense and didn't have enough parking to meet the design and dimensional standards of the land development code.

The developer responded to our original objections with a revised proposal that reduced the height of the apartments from six to five floors and they added townhomes on 12th Street as a ''buffer' to residents on that street.


Our efforts to have the developer add more townhomes or reduce the height of the apartment building to four stories were unsuccessful. However, former Commissioner Grinberg cleverly negotiated a compromise between the developer and the RNA. The Fargo City Commission accepted that compromise, which includes the seven townhomes in question.

These townhomes are key to our acceptance because they provide the "buffer" needed between the residents on 12th Street and the backside of the five-story apartment building. The commission was also successful in getting the developer to include on the final plat an additional lot dedicated for more townhomes along 12th Street. These future townhomes will increase the length of the needed buffer and they will help to restore some of the character of the original streetscape.

I ask that you give all parties the time necessary to review the options available to the city and the neighborhood. Input from the city's core neighborhood consultant and the city's planning department would be extremely helpful.

I conclude by reminding you that I do not support any proposal from Roers or the Diocese that would modify, postpone or eliminate the townhomes approved by the Fargo City Commission at the St. Paul Newman Center project.

Harold Thompsen is a member of Fargo's Roosevelt Neighborhood Association.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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