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Developer gets an earful from residents of historic Moorhead neighborhood

MOORHEAD -- Residents living in a historic Moorhead neighborhood where a $10 million student housing complex is proposed told the developer Tuesday his plan is too big and would generate too much traffic.

"It's just going to be chaotic," said Jay Forster, who attended a neighborhood meeting at the Moorhead Public Library, where developer Dean Ahmann described plans to build a four-story housing complex at the junction of Seventh Avenue South and 10th Street.

The area is home to some of the oldest houses in Moorhead, including what is known as the Comstock House at 506 8th St. S.

What is being called "Campus Commons" envisions 30 four-bedroom apartments, three three-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom units.

Teresa Shume spoke for many of the 40 or so people attending the meeting when she said the plans are just too big.

"It's a family neighborhood," said Shume, adding that a four-story building "would be a fundamental shift in our neighborhood."

Stacy Nicholson, who owns a home directly adjacent to the proposed development, added her voice to the chorus of those who stated the idea, as planned, wasn't a good fit for the neighborhood.

"It just seems like it will be a big eyesore," Nicholson told Ahmann.

"But," she added, "I do thank you for trying to do something for Moorhead."

Ahmann said because of the economics involved, the size of the project is not something that can change if it is to be a success.

However, he expressed a willingness to quash plans for a parking ramp, as well as commercial space that called for a neighborhood pub.

The latter was perhaps already a moot point. Acting City Planner Kristie Leshovsky said current city rules would not allow a liquor establishment on the site.

Leshovsky said the size of the project would require the installation of a bigger water main in the area and she said if that was done the cost would likely be passed on to benefitting properties in the development.

Leshovsky said given all of the necessary hearings for rezoning and other issues, it would be at least a year before any project could expect to receive approval.

John Rowell, a member of the City Council and the city Planning Commission, promised residents they would be kept up to date on the status of the proposed development.