Hitting the housing target: Dickinson officials worry about rapid growthDickinson city officials are worried about the impact of rapid subdivision growth, even though developers are on the hook for a higher percentage of the costs of building infrastructure than they have been in years past.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson city officials are worried about the impact of rapid subdivision growth, even though developers are on the hook for a higher percentage of the costs of building infrastructure than they have been in years past.
Building too little could keep housing prices high, but building too much could burst the bubble, officials said.
“If we under build, then rents stay very high,” Mayor Dennis Johnson said Friday. “If we over build, then we get too big of an excess. It’s also fair to say that we are probably not going to hit it just right. If we did, we’d just be lucky.”
Meyer Real Estate Group, a sister company of Meyer Contracting of Maple Grove, Minn., is responsible for putting in the water and sewer lines throughout its Pinecrest and Sundance subdivisions, Vice President Brian Bochman said Friday. This arrangement is standard for developers in Dickinson.
What isn’t standard is the mile of piping Meyer put down to connect Sundance to existing city lines.
“On Sundance, that was very out of the ordinary that we paid to bring — hook our services to the city services that was a mile away,” Bochman said. “It was a key component of getting that project done.”
Beginning about four years ago, the city helped cover the costs of infrastructure in developments, but that program ended about a year ago, Johnson said.
“We quit doing it because the demand is so strong right now that you really don’t need to do the incentive,” he said. “The developer will pay the whole cost.”
The city would pay for 50 percent up to $300,000 of a development’s infrastructure, but then special assess the owners once the development was complete.
While the development on the west side of town could continue without annexation and be part of the county, it was important to Meyer to be in Dickinson.
“We’re just a big believer in being part of the community,” Bochman said.
The company chose Dickinson because of the way it is growing, he said.
“(City officials) have done such a great job of trying to maintain the small town atmosphere of Dickinson,” Bochman said.
One of the proposed portions of Pinecrest was the donation of land to build another middle school.
One concern at Monday’s commission meeting at City Hall was the cost of new homes, not only in Pinecrest and Sundance, Meyer’s other subdivisions, but in all developments.
“A first-year teacher doesn’t make enough to go out and buy a $200,000 or $300,000 house,” Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said. “They have to start somewhere.”
Meyer plans to do rent-to-own and in-house financing to help lower the costs to up-and-comers, Bochman said.
At Monday’s City Commission meeting, Commissioner Gene Jackson was concerned about the annexation of more than 400 acres of land and what consequences that would have on the city.
“My thought is that this should perhaps wait a little bit — a couple months — whatever it may take for us all to really absorb where we are and where we’re going with this. It’s 450 acres, it’s a lot of ground.”
Annexation of the Pinecrest subdivision, which will contain both residential and commercial buildings, was passed with Jackson being the lone dissenter.
“I think that this property is logical for future development, but I’m not sure when,” he said.
Once annexed, the developments still have to go through planning and zoning to get approval, City Planner Ed Courton said.
The annexation process, which was approved by the commission, does not guarantee that the property will be annexed. If there are any objections by property owners in the annexed area, they can be written and sent to the city. There will be a hearing on Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.
“I think at the end of the day we’re going to end up annexing this property, whether you do it now or you do it 60 days from now,” Johnson said at the meeting. “Why inconvenience the developer by delaying?”