The Bismarck City Commission on Tuesday agreed to lift its ban on off-sale liquor buys on Sunday; a special license is now available for businesses that already qualify to sell alcohol off-sale the rest of the week. All five commissioners passed it.
The new liquor ordinance allows businesses to sell alcohol off-sale on Sunday if they pay another 20 percent of their normal liquor license fee. They must already be able to sell liquor off-sale according to city code. A Class D license can sell both on and off liquor sales, Class E licenses are beer only and Class N licenses are for wine.
The commission also approved three actions that will allow the city to study the cost of moving a quiet rail project forward on three Bismarck downtown railroad crossings.
With quiet rail improvements, special infrastructure is added to allow quieter whistles.
The city will:
* File a notice of intent with the Federal Railroad Administration to improve Third, Fifth and 12th streets' crossings.
* Request to apply for $225,000 in North Dakota Department of Transportation funding to allow for potential quiet rail construction.
* Correspond with BNSF Railway about its standards for the cost of the improvements. The railroad would design and install the equipment and then bill the city.
The commission accepted the Northwest Sub Area Study with stipulations placed on it at a previous city planning commission meeting. Its goal is to spread traffic as new home developments fill in below 57th Avenue in the northwest section of Bismarck.
The study has been disputed because possible options suggest removing a fire hall going due west on Century Avenue, removing businesses or require moving homes to make way for the road expansion.
Commissioners agreed to the stipulations that:
* Strike references to preferred alternatives on Century Avenue options.
* The Tyler Coulee Road plan be strongly opposed.
* There would be further studies on environmental, Native American artifacts, storm water issues, traffic counts and alternative cost issues.
* There is further study on 57th Avenue, 64th Avenue and Ash Coulee Drive.
* Add an option suggested by a resident that goes from Century Avenue, crosses to the northwest corner of Lowe's parking lot and intersects with Burnt Boat Drive.
* Have the city traffic engineer look at adding a traffic light at Tyler Parkway and Century Avenue as a short-term solution to existing traffic problems. The engineer should see if this meets state criteria.
After an executive session late in the meeting, the commission announced that Traffic Safety Services had bought nearly 5 acres of property at the Northern Plains Commerce Centre for $500,000. It is a company that specializes in control signs for road construction. Bismarck Mayor John Warford said the company will build a structure there. "We're excited. This is what economic development is all about," he said.
(Reach reporter LeAnn Eckroth at 250-8264 or email@example.com.)