Zoning board denies Belfield requestLegal descriptions for a tract of Belfield land have held up a rezoning request that could benefit the area’s growing energy workforce.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Legal descriptions for a tract of Belfield land have held up a rezoning request that could benefit the area’s growing energy workforce.
The unanimous denial came Thursday from the Stark County Zoning Board, which heard a proposal from Belfield farmer and rancher Byron Richard. Richard seeks to have 192 acres rezoned from agricultural to industrial.
The request originally asked for two workforce housing units per acre, but the idea was removed after neighbors voiced opposition, said Mike Maus, Richard’s attorney. Subsequent land buyers or leasers would be responsible for getting permission to install crew housing.
“What was decided by myself and some of the neighbors that the best way to approach that is to have them come to you (zoning board) and make their specific requests,” Richard said during the board’s regular meeting at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson.
Multiple companies in the trucking, construction and oilfield industries have shown interest in using the land, and some made payment in earnest, Richard said.
Larry Ridl, a neighbor to the land, supports advancing the industrial park.
“I feel the commission needs to look at this for the development of the oilfield, we can’t expect oil companies to keep coming in if they don’t have a place to house their people or put their trucks,” he said. “If this is done properly, I see no objection.”
Board member Jay Elkin said he realizes the need for an industrial park, but it must have a law-abiding plat.
“The time has come, these companies, they want to come now. How do we accommodate them at this time?” Elkin said, adding that the area is conducive to industrial uses. “It is south of Belfield, right in the oil patch, and I believe there is the need and the need is there now.”
Chairman Russ Hoff said Richard “has done a nice job” with previous industrial developments adjacent to the proposed sites.
However, Hoff, Elkin and board member Gene Jackson said it is not a project that can move forward without more specifics.
“There may be nothing wrong with this at all, I am not speaking for or against the proposal, but it has got to be done right,” Jackson said. “This is significant and it needs a plat. It must comply with the county’s ordinance.”
The board agreed to meet again, and potentially call a special meeting for the request, once a subdivision plat was made.
“The board begins working in the dark if it doesn’t have those legal descriptions,” said Tom Henning, Stark County state’s attorney.