Residents speak out against parking lot, rezoning
A parking lot could soon take the place of a 1902 home near downtown Dickinson and multiple housing developments are one step closer to sprouting up after the Planning and Zoning Commission granted several recommendations during a meeting at City Hall, Wednesday morning.
The recommendations will now go before the City Commission for final approval.
Downtown business has picked up and parking is hard to come by, so after a home at 444 First St. W., owned by Ken and Lavonne Keller sat vacant for many years, Charbonneau Car Center has been vying to purchase the property to turn it into an employee parking lot.
Multiple people surrounding the run-down home oppose the installation of a parking lot.
"Is the message that we want to send to present home owners and prospective home owners that are living in an R3-zoned area, that if you have a neighbor that allows a house to become in disrepair, that that's fair game for a special use permit and a parking lot?" said Terry Saville, who lives across the street.
Dickinson attorney Chuck Peterson, who neighbors the dilapidated home, was on-hand at the meeting to represent resident Jeremy Davis, the home's latest prospective buyer.
Given the home's condition, it is questionable whether it can be fixed.
After inspecting the house, Senior Code Enforcement Officer Mel Zent said the foundation is crumbling, asbestos fills the boiler and the sewer is cracked open, making the home's restoration unfeasible.
Davis was not able to secure a bank loan due to the home's condition, Keller said.
Instead, Davis secured private financing for the agreed purchase price of $63,000, Peterson said.
The money was placed into Peterson's trust account awaiting the Keller's signatures on the deed.
While Lavonne Keller said previously her preference was to see the home restored, it wasn't in the cards for Davis.
"We are not comfortable at all," Ken Keller said, adding they would have sold the home had bank financing been secure. "We don't believe it's in our best interest to agree to those terms."
Financing for restoration of the home has been hard to come by.
Ken Keller said the home has been sold three times since June, but all parties were unable to secure bank funds.
The Commission recommended approval for Charbonneau's special use permit.
Multiple rezoning requests were also heard at the meeting, but not all were approved.
Two proposed housing developments drew much opposition, with several speaking against rezoning requests to move from residential low and medium density to residential high density.
About 105 residents signed a petition in an attempt to keep an area in southwest Dickinson from being rezoned from low density to high density.
A petition from Clint Heim to rezone for multi-family dwellings proposed for the area between Seventh Street Southwest and Second Avenue Southwest was denied.
Tim and Kelly Daniel, who signed the petition, purchased their home 14 years ago under the assumption the area would stay low density.
While the Daniels said they support growth, they have an issue with the high-density request as an apartment building presently located by their home produces a high amount of trash and traffic.
"The more multi-units you have you increase that," Tim Daniel said. "I think this is an example of spot-zoning."
Another high-density request was denied.
Gary Bleth and Jason Fridrich were denied a rezoning request for eight eight-plex units including garages, with each unit estimated at about 1,100 square-feet.
The buildings would have been located between 15th Avenue East and Lincoln Street and were proposed for two-bedroom, two-bathroom units with laundry facilities and two parking spots per unit.
Paul Gengler said he opposes the development due to a lack of a buffer zone.
Gengler said he and his family moved back to Dickinson two years ago and chose their home's location for a reason.
"If we would have known there was going to be an R3 designation (residential high density) in that area, we wouldn't have picked it," Gengler said.
Gengler's father and former Dickinson Mayor Fred Gengler also voiced his opposition, saying while he has confidence in the landowner, he isn't so sure about future owners.
"There's a big difference as you all know between a property owner and a renter," Fred Gengler said. "Often times after the last crash we saw what happened to some of these areas, so zoning is extremely important."
Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Earl Abrahamson said while he feels the development is doable, it would have made the area too dense.