We applaud the city council for not giving undue weight to another version of the "not in my back yard" argument at Monday's meeting.
Voting 11-2, the council approved a low-income housing project that would build 64 townhomes in southeast Minot near Washington?Elementary and Edgewood Village.
Some residents of Edgewood Village expressed concern that changing the area's zoning from office to multi-family would disrupt the retirement village's peace and quiet, and questioned whether Washington?Elementary could handle the additional students and whether the area's streets would stand up to the increase in traffic.
While we understand the concerns and recognize that they are legitimate issues to contend with, the city's glaring need for additional housing especially more affordable housing outside the flood zone should take precedence. All of Minot's schools are going to be experiencing growth in the coming years, and essentially all of Minot's streets were under considerable stress even before the flood of 2011. Those aren't reason enough to deny such a project.
That means the decision really came down to "not in my back yard" feelings again. It's an attitude that isn't going to go away, but that doesn't mean the council should bow to such pressure. As the city claws toward recovery from the flood and experiences population growth, the council would be ill-advised to halt such project.
Minot desperately needs more housing all kinds of housing, from single-family units to townhomes to apartment complexes. What message would the city council be sending if it rejected appropriate and acceptable proposals simply because some residents don't want to live near low-income townhomes?
The city council did the right thing, and should continue to approve housing projects that are appropriate and meet local standards.