Weather Forecast


Rezone request denied; Dickinson zoning commission wants to 'step back a bit'

Residents filled Dickinson City Hall for the Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday. Above, Jeff Loh of Dickinson stated his opposition for rezoning land on the northwest corner of 33rd Street Southwest and Highway 22 from agriculture to industrial and commercial.

There was standing room only Wednesday at Dickinson City Hall when the Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission tabled and denied several requests to rezone land.

The commission again unanimously tabled a rezoning petition from Dickinson Energy Park LLC to change approximately 153 acres at the northwest corner of 33rd Street Southwest and Highway 22 from agriculture zone to commercial and industrial zone pending completion of a preliminary plat.

Commissioners were uncomfortable about passing the request "without some kind of layout" involving streets, drainage and transition of land.

"Right now we are just jumping ahead of ourselves," Commissioner Jay Elkin said. "I don't understand the layout. I would like to see ... just a general idea before we move forward with this."

The request was previously tabled at the Dec. 21 meeting because commissioners wanted to wait for the comprehensive plan, also known as "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future." City Planner Ed Courton said based on meetings and conversations the land use would be consistent with the plan.

Residents near the land also raised concerns, including Dickinson resident Jeff Loh, who submitted a petition with 57 names opposing the request.

"If you change it from agricultural to industrial and commercial as you are saying, there's numerous things that can happen, and we don't know what they are," Loh said.

Residents also voiced concerns of being contacted by Tracy Tooz, a third owner of Energy Park.

"We stepped out of the room, (Tooz) wrote down our email addresses, and said we would be contacted," said Dickinson resident Sharon King, who was at the Dec. 21 meeting. "I watched it every day, and I haven't been contacted. I would just like to be part of this a little bit more than just coming to a meeting."

Tooz, who is also a commissioner, abstained from voting. Commissioner George Nodland, who lives near the petitioned area, also abstained from voting.

The commission also denied a rezoning request and a preliminary plat by Westlie Motor Co. of Minot to change four lots north of Parkway Ford and Lincoln from commercial to residential.

The land would be used to build transitional housing for Westlie Truck Center of Dickinson employees, Westlie CFO Darek Zaun said, adding it was hard to find housing in the city.

Parkway owner Brad Fong said he was opposed any request to rezone commercial land to residential for safety reasons.

"Automobile dealerships do not blend well with residential property," he said. "Having residents as neighbors coming on our property would create a potential hazard due to vehicle traffic in and around the store."

The area does not make for "a good playground," Fong said, and someone to put up a 623-foot fence, which could cost about $15,000.

Nodland agreed, wondering if it would open doors for other companies coming to Dickinson.

"Are we going to set a precedent by allowing them to find some land next to their business ... that we already have zoned (commercial) and allow them to build something for their employees?" he said. "I think we need to step back a bit and watch this grow."

Tooz dissented the vote to deny.