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Billings Co. says ‘no’ to Fryburg hotel: Commission upholds zoning board, residents’ wishes

MEDORA -- The Billings County Commission upheld its zoning board's recommendation Tuesday and denied an application for a 300-unit hotel in Fryburg. The three commissioners voted unanimously against the project, said Stacey Swanson, zoning and ta...

MEDORA - The Billings County Commission upheld its zoning board’s recommendation Tuesday and denied an application for a 300-unit hotel in Fryburg.
The three commissioners voted unanimously against the project, said Stacey Swanson, zoning and tax director for the county.
Developers had proposed putting a $12.8 million, 318-room extended-stay hotel at the site of the old Fryburg schoolhouse on Main Street. The Billings County Zoning Board denied the building application at its Aug. 21 meeting. Developers had the opportunity to go to the full commission, which they took advantage of, but the commission agreed with the zoning board.
Nearly every resident of Fryburg, population 20, signed a petition against the project leading up to the zoning board meeting. Some put signs up protesting the project.
Fryburg residents have been opposed to all those workers in town and told county officials they think the project is too big for them to handle. They also said there isn’t enough oil activity in Billings County to warrant the scale of the hotel, and the planned sewage waste system was too close to local residences.
Margie Lindbo, of Fryburg, said she and other residents are pleased with the county’s decision to go along with the zoning board.
“We’re very happy,” she said.
Developer Richard Brown said he and his partners must now go back to the drawing board with the school building, which they only just closed on.
“We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with the property here,” he said.
The building is infested with bats and rats, and the roof is caving in, Brown said.
“So something’s gotta be done with the building or it’ll be worthless in a couple of years and falling down,” he said.

Lymn is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-456-1211 or klymn@thedickinsonpress.com . The Bismarck Tribune contributed to this report.

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