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Make room for parks: Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission wants closer partnership between developers, park commission

Roers' West Ridge development off Interstate 94 Exit 59 is seen March 3 in west Dickinson.

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission would like developers to think not only of the first residents moving into the neighborhoods they are building, but those who will live there in 100-plus years.

At its regular meeting Wednesday morning, Planning and Zoning Chairman Earl Abrahamson asked Roers Vice President Larry Nygard, and effectively all other developers, to first consult the Board of Park Commissioners before bringing plats to the planning board.

"I also appreciate the fact that these parks, or these non-parks, or the money that's taken -- they're going to affect the city for 100 years down the road," Abrahamson said. "You decide where a park is and a proper faction that's going to be used by people from our great-grandchildren down the road."

A Dickinson city ordinance requires developers to either donate land or money to Dickinson Parks and Recreation to develop a park.

"It almost sounds like we're OK then with every developer not going to the park board before they come to us," Commissioner Jerry Krieg said. "Having said that -- no, I'm not OK with that. That's where I stood last month, that's where I stand this month. I think we need to set the precedence to get this straight."

Roers is working with Meyer Real Estate Group, which is developing retail and commercial properties adjacent to Roers' West Ridge, near Interstate 94's Exit 59, to develop a park, Nygard said. Those plans were not on the preliminary plat agreements for either development.

"I really would like to see the park district and the developer get together -- I think that's important," Abrahamson said.

The rezoning from agricultural to commercial, residential and planned unit development on both Roers' West Ridge and Meyer's Pinecrest passed the zoning board unanimously.

The preliminary platting of the subdivisions spurred discussion among developers and city officials as to what should be expected at that stage, as well as when final platting should occur.

"I think the question is, are we OK not having the park issue resolved approving a preliminary plat, and then going into whatever number of days it takes to solve the park issue, as well as the rest of it," Commissioner Gene Jackson asked.

Community Development Director Ed Courton said both developments, which are each more than 300 acres, will need at least 90 days, if not 120, before final platting is approved.

The developers will work with Dickinson engineering and planning staff to work out any kinks in the platting before given final approval.

"If you approve preliminary plat, we have allowed developers in the past to move forward with groundwork based on that preliminary plat -- at their own risk," City Administrator Shawn Kessel said. "But it does allow them to start moving dirt and start preparing foundations and such."

In other news:

v Leann and Dean Karsky warned Nygard and the zoning board of an odor that comes from their dairy farm every spring when they empty the lagoon into a field near where proposed apartments will be in West Ridge Second Addition.

"There's always going to be an odor for about a week until that gets worked back in -- and it's a very strong odor," Dean Karsky said.

He said about 3 million gallons of animal waste is pumped from their lagoon each April on a field near where the apartments will be located. Because the contents are wet, it takes that week for it to settle before it can be worked into the ground.

There will be agricultural noise, dust and animals near the proposed development, Leann Karsky said. The couple wanted future residents to know that there would be farm activity near their home.

v Consolidated will be constructing a second building across from its headquarters in south Dickinson.

The building will not be for customers, just workers, said Chuck Olsen of Consolidated.

The rezone petition was unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

v A neighborhood successfully had their general commercial zoning status changed to high-density residential.

Years ago, those living on Eighth Avenue East and Aldrich Street were zoned commercial because of its adjacency to Villard Street.

In recent years this has caused issues when residents wished to sell or purchase homes in the area, said Ninetta Wandler, an agent at Everett Real Estate in Dickinson.

Lenders were requiring high down payments and other sometimes unattainable requirements for potential homeowners because, in the event of a disaster, the home would not be able to be rebuilt because of the zoning, she said.

"Mortgage lenders will not give a loan if it is not guaranteed to be rebuilt as a house," Wandler said.

The Commission passed the rezoning unanimously.

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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