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Belfield citizen request to rezone denied; corporate rezoning proposal approved

BELFIELD -- The Belfield Planning and Zoning Board unanimously denied a request Tuesday to rezone 10 acres of land from agricultural to commercial when it discovered that there would be no development on the land.

"I'm not doing anything with (the land)," landowner Darlene Fritz told the board at the meeting at City Hall. "I just think it would be better for resale if I ever decided to sell the land."

Board member Peggy O'Brien was hesitant to act on Fritz's request because she didn't know how that might impact development on the land in the future.

"If we were to zone the land commercial, anything commercial could move in there," she said, noting that any future developer would have to go before the board for approval though.

Zoning board member Kevin Hushka, who is also Belfield's Fire Department chief and a city councilman, said that without having any plans showing access to the property, he could not give his approval for the request.

"We need to know about access points to the property in case something would be built there someday that would need a major response from emergency services," he said.

Fritz, and a friend who came along to help with the request to the board, said they believed that the city of Dickinson has approved zoning changes without development on the site.

When the board asked about access to utilities on the site, like water and sewer, Fritz believed that there was potential for the city to provide those services. If not, getting services through the county might be a possibility, she thought.

After turning down Fritz's request, the board approved a proposal by New Leaf Hospitality, a hotel developer in Big Lake, Minn., to rezone a portion of O'Brien Subdivision from agricultural to commercial.

The proposed hotel would be a 90-room, three-story wood frame building on the corner of Highway 85 and Highway 10 in Belfield.

The zoning board's decision will need to go to City Council, where two readings will be required prior to approval.