Editorial: Input helps with tough decisionsThe Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission did the right thing Wednesday by listening to people who put together a petition and who took time out of their schedules to attend an early morning meeting to express concerns about a housing proposal.
The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission did the right thing Wednesday by listening to people who put together a petition and who took time out of their schedules to attend an early morning meeting to express concerns about a housing proposal.
Does that mean an apartment complex should not be constructed — no. It means the commissioners’ wise decision to hold off on approving the project will give developers and city leaders a little more time to look into the proposal.
This group of Dickinson residents living near Prairie Avenue told commissioners they are opposed to an apartment building in their neighborhood.
Commissioners denied Legend Energy’s zoning request that would have allowed the apartments in an area behind the mall. It would be a place for Legend to house its employees.
There are a number of things people don’t want in their backyards but it’s undeniable western North Dakota is growing and needs to accommodate many entities: Residents along with outsiders, the services to sustain a booming population, water, industry, environment.
It’s not going to be easy and it will take some tough choices by all sides but more housing needs to be constructed somewhere. Hundreds of people are arriving to work in the oilfields. Along with them comes complaints about overburdened trailer parks and campgrounds and skyrocketing rental rates.
Dickinson is not alone in the frenzy.
Many area towns are dealing with this influx of people and are trying to resolve issues that come along with that — do we allow a man camp in, what do we charge to park a trailer here, can residents rent out their backyards to transplants living in campers and tents?
People have their legal right to share their opinion and it is refreshing to see they have in this case. (It seems many others prefer to sit around with a cup of coffee and complain without taking action).
The lack of housing is creating undo hardship for many. It makes sense to put apartments in town where there are already services. But where to place them is key. They can’t be picked and moved once they are here.
More residents should follow the lead of the 10 or so who made their concerns heard at Wednesday’s meeting. And somewhere there has to be a compromise between leaders, developers and residents.
Legend Energy may still request the rezone from the City Commission. Can the developer come up with alternative plans that are more suitable to all involved?
No one knows what is to come in southwest North Dakota. Keeping decision makers aware of requests and concerns can only benefit all — and help them make what must be never-ending tough choices.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.