Parks needed as Dickinson growsDickinson Park Board members said during a meeting Wednesday that some changes may be needed to make sure there are park facilities as the area sees rapid growth from a recent oil boom.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson Park Board members said during a meeting Wednesday that some changes may be needed to make sure there are park facilities as the area sees rapid growth from a recent oil boom.
The city is growing at an unprecedented pace and some developers are unclear of their obligations, officials said.
Developers must submit 5 percent of their subdivision acreage to the park district to be used for public recreation, or pay for the land instead, according to the ordinance.
However, with the accelerated rate of development, the ordinance has been overlooked and the park district is left with “after-the-fact situations,” where developers did not account for giving up the land or paying the fee, leaders say.
Board members suggested an amendment to the ordinance that would require the district be involved with designs from the start.
James Kramer, Dickinson Parks and Recreation director, said that being involved with negotiations early on would help ensure that the city and developer would be happy.
Park Board Chairman Mike Lefor said a consistent plan is important.
“We know these developments are going to come fast and furious,” he said. “We need to detail things we have run into so we can finish this thing once and for all.”
Scott Kovash, Park Board member and Dickinson Planning and Zoning representative, said after the meeting that there has been a learning curve in development.
“We haven’t had to deal with this for such a long time, and frankly the city hasn’t either, so all of a sudden everybody is overwhelmed and the communication isn’t as quick as it probably should be,” he said.
Kovash added that most experienced developers are aware of the ordinance and issues usually arise with beginning developers.
The decision to take the land or take the payment is determined by the board on a case-by-case basis, Kramer said.
In some cases, like CA Contracting’s Spring Creek Subdivision, developers add recreation services without going through the park district.
Lora Petrie, representative of CA Contracting, said that the developer planned to put a greenway walking path through the subdivision.
Board members said that due to the proximity of nearby parks, there would be no need to take the land from the development. The board unanimously approved taking $5,300 in lieu of the land.
Kramer said as developments move north and east, it will be more likely the park district will need to take the land to develop more parks or facilities.