Proposals that would push Minot's borders further into nearby rural areas brought a number of concerned residents to the city's planning commission hearings Monday.
"It's the growing pains of the city of Minot, and we hear your situation," vice chairman Dave Pankow told residents.
However, the commission went ahead in recommending the Minot City Council approve a couple of controversial projects on Minot's east side.
The proposed 55th Crossing, submitted by landowner Nathan Smith, would create a master-planned community of 318 lots south of U.S. Highway 2 East and east of 55th Street Southeast. The project includes single-family residential, townhomes, multi-family residences and commercial property that also would feature some mixed use, with retail on lower levels and apartments above.
Neighbors voiced concern about water runoff and the impact to Nedrose Township in having large pieces of property removed from its tax rolls and annexed into the city. They urged the commission to reject the urbanized project in favor of continuing rural developments.
Engineers with Ackerman-Estvold Engineering outlined a plan for containing water runoff and noted that the project would begin this fall and be completed in stages over about three years. No annexation is planned at this time since the property is not contiguous to the city. Annexation could occur in the future if neighboring land, such as the nearby Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary housing park, also is annexed.
As for roads, city engineer Lance Meyer said federal money through the state Department of Transportation typically helps cover the cost of improvements associated with growth. But he questioned whether the city can continue to depend on that.
"We are in a day and time that the urban roads system cannot keep up with the demands. We have relied on state funding. We don't have that luxury any more. The DOT has said that until they are, I guess, given legislation through the U.S. Congress, they are not sure to what extent the urban road project will exist in the future," he said.
He said the developer needs to ensure that lot buyers pay the cost of road improvements or understand that there may be special assessments to cover those costs. The cost of turning 1.25 miles of road into a three-lane section would cost about $120 a year over 10 years for a lot owner, he estimated.
Meyer also requested a transportation study to determine the type of improvements that will be needed in the area.
As for water and sewer, Meyer said services aren't currently available, although the city plans a major sewer trunk system development along 55th Street in the near future.
North Dakota Port Services' neighbors also objected to its proposal to create a commercial and multi-family residential district north of 46th Avenue Northeast, west of 55th Street. The area is outside city limits, near the intermodal facility.
Mike Gessner said the project will destroy his rural lifestyle.
"We believe North Dakota Port Services should accommodate us. Our lifestyle should not have to suffer while the city and North Dakota Port Services prosper," he said.
Residents also voiced concern over the lack of infrastructure and fire protection to serve the project.
Greg Johnson, port manager, said the port has increased employment from 22 jobs to 72 jobs and next year anticipates having 207 jobs. The project will provide housing for employees, he said.
Johnson added that water and sewer connections to the city can be made, and that the project will donate land for a fire station and water tower.
"We will develop the roads to enhance and handle the traffic," he said.
The commission approved both growth projects and a zone change request from Target Logistics to construct a hotel west of the Dawn to Dusk station on U.S. Highway 2 East.
Jon Backes, representing Target Logistics, said the 204-suite hotel will be similar to a 240-room hotel being built in Stanley. The Stanley hotel is set to open in mid-July.
Backes said the facility would operate as a traditional hotel, catering to workers as many extended-stay hotels in Minot do.
"They are primarily targeting executives," he said. "It's not a disguised man camp nor is it a disguised temporary housing facility."
The commission delayed action on another subdivision request that would create 326 residential lots west of the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass, north of 19th Avenue Northwest. The commission approved the requested zoning change, but held onto plans for the subdivision until getting more information.
The commission also voted to recommend denial of the Evergreen Neighborhood Development just north of Seventh Avenue Northwest and west of 27th Street Northwest after neighbors raised concern about street access congestion and other issues. The developer had proposed 38 single-family lots.