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Fences a hot issue at Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission meeting

Dickinson resident Art Sickler on Wednesday tells the Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission at City Hall that a fence needs to be built between his land and Koch's Meadow Hills Subdivision.

A development northwest of Dickinson is stirring debate once again. This time, adjacent landowners are concerned with liability issues regarding horses next door.

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously passed a preliminary plat for the remaining 104 acres in Koch's Meadow Hills Subdivision during its regular Wednesday meeting in Dickinson City Hall. Plans for the land include residential and commercial development.

Adjoining residents, Jan Prchal and Art and Rose Sickler, asked the commission to require the applicant, Michael Koch of Mandan, to build a fence between his plat and their property. Prchal and the Sicklers have animals, and they don't want children to come onto their land and get hurt.

"The kids, you know, they are fascinated by animals, and they crawl in (the pasture)," Art Sickler said. "We just can't have that happen."

Rose said it would protect not only the children but it would protect the landowners as well.

"I'm not against children or anything," Rose Sickler said. "But if their children come over on our side of the line just because they're curious about the horses and get hurt, whose insurance is going to cover it? Ours, of course."

It is not the commission's job to demand that a fence be put up, Chairman Earl Abrahamson said, adding the landowners could make an agreement for a fence.

"I think there comes a point in time when you can't place too many burdens on the developer," he said. "We can't have the government protect us from everything."

Koch said he wanted to know if he would be required to build a fence so the development process would not be held up. Miscommunications created problems about when trees should be planted on the third addition, and he wanted to avoid anything that would delay development.

Abrahamson said Koch has been very cooperative during the process and the commission would not require him to build a fence.

Prchal also asked if a drainage study had been done on the land. She was afraid the drainage will turn into a waterway and cut her land in half.

The commission required that a drainage and grading plan be approved by the city engineer before the final plat is approved. The land must also be annexed into city limits before final approval.

In other news:

- The commission unanimously passed a zoning text amendment to include the "Corridor Overlay District" for major roads in the city. The amendment includes standards for building and site design for structures to be built on gateways to the city including Highway 22, the Interstate 94 corridor and business loop, Villard, State Avenue, 10th Avenue East, 21st Street East and West, 34th Street West and 9th Avenue Southeast.

- Sen. George Nodland, R-Dickinson, joined the commission for his first meeting as a commissioner. After Nancy Mosbrucker's resignation in December, Nodland was appointed by the city as the extraterritorial commissioner from Stark County. Nodland said he had previously served on the Stark County Planning and Zoning Commission for 20-some years before becoming a state senator in 2009. He is retiring as a senator but is excited to join the commission.