City being less than honest about landfill expansion

Jeff Fox


In civic functions and public notifications of civic projects, there is a difference between doing what is minimally required by law or being transparent and notifying all who would and could be affected by those projects.

Case in point; the City of Minot Sanitation Department chose the minimally required road and notified only 10 property owners of a proposed expansion of the city landfill towards those citizens’ properties.

One might ask why the city chose the low road over the high road. Well that’s because with two very large subdivisions containing hundreds of homes, apartment complexes, a senior living complex and two newly proposed medical building projects directly in the path of that expansion, the city recognized that this might be a very contentious project. That was evidenced by the large crowd that filled the City Planning Commission’s chamber this Monday.

During that meeting, the city attempted to make a case that it was the subdivisions of Elk Meadows and Green Acres which were in fact the entities that were encroaching on Minot Landfill’s footprint. Not the other way around.

But let’s explore that argument. The City claims that for decades, their plan was always to expand eastward toward the developed parts of the city. If that were the case, why would the city planning commission have ever approved the development of those subdivisions in the first place? Why, in fact did the city not follow the guidance of its own Land Use Plan which predicted that the area of the city which would grow the fastest and largest was the southwest quadrant?

Rather than plan for eventually moving the landfill far outside city limits and far from the largest predicted area of growth, the city planned to continue expanding its current landfill closer to developed areas and planned to blame those developed areas for encroaching on the landfill’s footprint.

The city argues that there are no alternatives for moving the landfill outside its limits. But at least four times throughout the history of Minot, the landfill has been moved, but not far enough. How many times is our city doomed to make the same mistake? How many millions must the city pay before it learns a lesson?