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Rezone, plat approved for Meadow Hills in Dickinson

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission spent nearly an hour discussing two Koch's Meadow Hills subdivisions Wednesday at Dickinson City Hall, leaving some officials wondering about several issues.

The commission held a public hearing on a final plat for Meadow Hills third subdivision and a rezoning request for the second subdivision from low-density residential to medium-density and high-density residential. Michael Koch, owner and developer of Meadow Hills, said his goal is to develop more housing for Dickinson.

"We are trying to accommodate the people that are coming to your community with what they want," Koch said. "We are just trying to find the right way to do everything."

Commissioner Gene Jackson asked where trees would be planted in the third subdivision. Koch said it was his understanding that the person buying the lots has to put the trees in. Several commissioners said they thought it was up to Koch to plant the trees.

"In the end, we don't know if those lots will be sold," Jackson said. "If there is no certificate of occupancy, there will be no trees."

The commissioners said they wanted to look at past minutes to see what they recommended for the trees. Koch said he was willing to abide by the condition if it was specified.

A preliminary plat hearing on the third subdivision on Oct. 19 also left commissioners asking if the Dickinson Parks and Recreation would receive cash in lieu of land for the third phase. Miscommunications between Koch and parks and recreation director James Kramer may have caused the issue, Commission Chairman Earl Abrahamson said. The concern was resolved the same day.

Commissioner Tracy Tooz made a motion to approve the final plat with the condition of annexing additional land east of 10th Avenue West. City Attorney Matthew Kolling said the condition would force Koch to wait some time to file the plat, and Jackson said it was too late to do that.

The concerns made Dickinson resident Greg Lefor question the plat and rezoning request. He stated Koch wanted to change the zone on the second subdivision to build apartments because he couldn't sell single-family units.

"I just think the planning and zoning (commission) needs to sit back and think about when you start thinking about making these zoning changes," Lefor said, asking why the commission was in such a hurry.

Lefor also asked why the commission did not follow up on Koch planting the trees, claiming Koch had all summer to put them in.

Koch made an attempt at the meeting to rebut statements from Lefor, but Abrahamson asked him to make comments based on his knowledge and not in reaction to other people's comments.

Koch said he has done

everything he could to meet the conditions of the commission, adding there are changing factors.

"If you want the tree planted tomorrow, I'll plant it tomorrow," Koch said. "We are not looking to dodge the bullet."

Despite having several issues associated with Meadow Hills, Abrahamson said Koch has followed and transitioned through the three-phase plan "extremely well."

"There has been contention on some small issues," Abrahamson said. "It seems like there is more of an issue than there really is."

The commission passed both motions unanimously. Abrahamson said the commission should always look at the best interest of the land.

"We are not zoning people and their attitudes," he said. "We are dealing with the use of the land and traffic and roads. People are people."