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City Council meets
By Caroline Downs
The city of Berthold may add a 50-space trailer/RV parking area, if a proposal by businessman Boe Lautenschlager meets the requirements and regulations established in the city’s ordinances.
Lautenschlager pitched his idea to the council during the council’s meeting on September 10th, complete with drawings to show how the campground would be situated behind the Western Ag Services shop.
“We’re already zoned commercial-industrial,” he said. “I’ve had many people ask me about this. There’s a need.”
Lautenschlager intends to create 50 24-foot sites where campers can be parked year-round. Electricity, water and septic hookups would be provided, with $500 charged in rent per month per site.
First District Health Unit has approved the plan, according to Lautenschlager, which includes the installation of a 5,000 gallon water tank in the shop and a 90’ x 120’ infiltration system for the campground’s use. “We’ll have self-contained water and sewer,” Lautenschlager said, adding that he expected the project’s total cost to be about $200,000.
He noted the campground would be fenced and background checks would be conducted on individuals who wanted to live there. “Security cameras are already installed around the shop,” he said.
Lautenschlager explained he had been researching various plans with campground owners and RV dealers throughout the area, including Minot, Williston and Watford City. “We asked them what worked and what didn’t,” he said. “This is going to be controlled by us, and we want to do this right.”
He said custom combine crews were using the area behind his shop at the present time, with other campers set up behind Gratech for those employees. “There’s no place else for them to go,” he said. “This will open up other spots in the city and at the city’s campground for travelers coming through. Right now, it’s full.”
Council members cited concerns with similar projects proposed by other individuals that had not come to fruition.
“There’s no denying there’s a need for it,” said Mayor Alan Lee before he instructed Lautenschlager to work with council members Steve Ibach and Nathan Fegley to draft an agreement between the city and the campground enterprise.
The agreement will include the campground rules, prohibitions, eviction procedures and other information listed in contracts/leases signed by renters there. The council also asked Lautenschlager to describe in writing the specifications for the campground to determine compliance with the city’s ordinances.
Mayor Lee suggested a special meeting could be called by the council to approve Lautenschlager’s request after an agreement is drafted.
Five Stone Development
investors to visit
Alex Gregg of Five Stone Development, LLC, reported that the Berthold project’s group of investors would be visiting the area during the week. “We have a core group put together as far as financing goes,” he said. “A new entity will be formed [for the Berthold project], but everything in the [developer’s] agreement with the city applies.”
Gregg expressed his interest in continuing to work with city officials to prepare and submit grant applications to help pay for infrastructure costs associated with the development. He noted he had moved to Minot and expected to be working in Berthold most days, with office space rented locally to accommodate Five Stone’s needs at this time.
“One of the partners will be living here as well,” Gregg said, adding that he wanted to arrange a meeting to introduce council members to the development’s partners during the group’s visit. He also noted progress was being made with the commercial property included in the development, with health care facilities under consideration.
Gregg said Five Stone expected to close September 13th on the property purchased east of Berthold, adjacent to U.S. Highway 2 and ND Highway 28. “We think we’ve been doing the hard stuff, but now we’ll really get to work,” he said. “We should have a very good development on our hands.”
Mayor Lee agreed to a meeting between some council members and the project’s investors. “It’ll be good to see dirt moving out there after all the hype,” he said.
In Other Business:
• Council members approved minutes of the August meeting and the bills for payment as presented, with the exception of one bill for work on the landfill road.
• The council approved a motion to spend up to $50,000 to cover the purchase of an automated bulk water station for the city and associated building and set-up costs.
• Mayor Lee and council members discussed the city’s need for an objective engineer to oversee and monitor progress on upcoming projects with representatives from Ackerman-Estvold and Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson. Projects mentioned included the sewer expansion and the Five Stone development. No specific firm has been hired for that role yet. The city has been working with representatives of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson on recent projects.
• Council member Mark Birdsall announced representatives from the council would meet with the Burlington Police Department on September 11th to review the budget, costs, procedures, hiring process and other matters related to establishing a law enforcement presence in Berthold. Mayor Lee reported he had been talking with city attorney Bryan Van Grinsven about the possibility of establishing a local judgeship in Berthold. Lee and Birdsall said they would have more information for the council at the next meeting.
• The council approved a motion to spend up to $150,000 to support an existing sewer facility project after Mayor Lee described Allied Engineering’s concept for a combination mechanical treatment system and new lagoon for the first phase of the Five Stone development in Berthold. Lee noted the city’s contribution would add much-needed capacity for existing residences and businesses. The city may have to pay the additional cost of extending the existing sewer line to tie into the development’s new treatment system.
• Council members approved payment to Wold Engineering for paving work completed around the city. Payment of the $194,192.74 bill will be split between the city’s sales tax fund and the improvement fund. The total bill came in well under the $270,000 estimate the city had received earlier for the paving work.
• The next regular meeting of the Berthold city council is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Monday, October 1st, at city hall.