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City writes "Roadmap to the Future"

The Dickinson City Commission unanimously passed the first reading of "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future."

The comprehensive plan, which has been nearly two years in the making, sets forth guidelines for capital improvements and infrastructure projects, along with other growth issues, through the year 2035.

"I think our 'Roadmap to the Future' is what sets Dickinson apart from other communities," Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said. "We are being proactive, we do look towards the future and we want steady growth."

Discussion was held at a special joint session between the City Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission that took place before the regular meeting Monday at City Hall. Planning and Zoning voted to approve the first reading at the special session and the Commission voted during its regular meeting.

Commission President Dennis Johnson had some concerns for future commissions in language that called for a super majority, four votes for a commission of its current size, to agree on certain points in changing the document in later votes.

"It would essentially mean that two people could make these determinations," he said.

Other members of the commission shared Johnson's concern, worrying what it might do to impending city governments.

"I guess I would err on the side of letting future commissions have the same authority we've enjoyed as we move forward with our planning process," Oltmanns said.

The City Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to remove any references to a super majority from the comprehensive plan.

While the document is binding, there are a lot of recommendations that are not obligatory that give current and future leaders flexibility.

"This is an advisory document," said Ed Courton, community development director. "There's few portions that are mandatory that you need to do."

Endeavors were prioritized and scheduled accordingly, said Craig Kubas, project manager with KLJ.

One of the biggest factors in deciding on the comprehensive plan priorities are based upon population estimates -- an estimated 42,000 people by the year 2035 -- provided by North Dakota State University, Commissioner Gene Jackson said.

"I think it's still up to the two boards to be continually asking ourselves as we make decisions about a new subdivision, or as we make decisions about putting $10 million worth of sewer in the ground what population do we really think we're going to be," he said. "I don't think that this takes that decision making away from any of us as we move forward. We still have to ask ourselves that question."

City hires Kolling full time

The city has hired Matt Kolling as full-time city attorney.

Kolling has served in this capacity through a contract with Ebeltoft Sickler. He also served as city attorney for other cities, such as Beach. His starting salary is $94,000 per year plus benefits.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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