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Kenmare has a plan

Members of the Kenmare Growth Management Plan Comprehensive Planning Committee had a look at the final draft of the proposed future land use map for the city on December 8th, and generally liked what they saw.

12/21/11 (Wed)

Committee creates map for growth and future land use

By Caroline Downs

Members of the Kenmare Growth Management Plan Comprehensive Planning Committee had a look at the final draft of the proposed future land use map for the city on December 8th, and generally liked what they saw.

Engineer Sean Weeks of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consultants, Minot, presented the future land use map as part of the comprehensive growth management plan he is finishing for the city. “This map is in the plan, showing the desired land uses we’ve talked about,” he said. “Of course, anything that’s in existence would be grandfathered in.”

The map shows the zoning established for various areas under the city’s jurisdiction, with 303.5 acres zoned for commercial use and 496.6 acres for industrial use.

Residential R-1 use covers 305.7 acres, while residential R-2 is 71.4 acres and R-3 is 10.8 acres. Residential mobile home use is 12.4 acres, and 4.6 acres would be zoned as a seasonal recreational vehicles park.

Recreational use was allotted 95 acres, and public use, including the hospital, schools, airport, landfill, cemeteries and county shop, covered 38.8 acres. Weeks noted the relatively large amount of land set aside for recreation. “That leaves the addition of no less than one acre per 100 new residents,” he said, “which allows space for playgrounds, ball fields and things of that nature.”

Nearly 609 acres were zoned for agricultural use.

Weeks reminded the committee that the city council would need to pass an ordinance to extend its jurisdiction to one mile beyond the current corporate limits in order for the proposed zoning to take effect.

Infrastructure needs,
now and later
Before approaching those final steps, however, Weeks asked committee members about areas on the map to be prioritized for infrastructure development.

Alderman Troy Hedberg immediately indicated the southeast portion of Kenmare, along U.S. Highway 52, as well as the northeast quadrant of the map.

“We have good sewer line up to the San Way Ve and South of the Border,” said mayor Roger Ness, “but anything to the east is weak.”

“Maybe these developers the city is hearing from will be willing to make the contributions for the new infrastructure,” Weeks said.

Both areas on the map would be targeted for industrial development, but talk of potential development led to the issue of traffic control, drainage and sidewalks on Sixth Street, also known as Ward County 2.

“That four-way stop is going to be a huge bottleneck if we get oil development east of town,” Hedberg said. “In a five- to 10-year plan, we should have something in place with the hope the road is going to get improved.”

Ness raised the issue of the railroad crossing immediately west of town and asked about the possibility of an overpass to maintain traffic flow. “If something happens west of town, we’re cut off in that direction,” he said.

Committee members also discussed options for a possible alternative truck route from the east to the west side of town and concerns about maintenance on the county road, with broken and deeply-grooved pavement causing problems for vehicles as more semi-trucks use the road.

Opportunities to
partner for housing
Weeks explained that zoning ordinances and specifications were included in the plan for various types of land uses, along with updated permit and hook-up fees. Ness was happy to hear that, especially with the continued demands for housing in the community.

“There is still a lot of interest here for different types of housing,” he said. “Landowners and business men would have an opportunity to find partners to develop some of this infrastructure that’s needed.”

The city’s own needs
The committee turned to other needs of the city, including additional space. “The city is lacking in office space and that needs to be addressed in the plan,” said Hedberg. “We need a detention area, and the city needs more office space.”

“And a decent police station,” added Ness.

“If I had a dream for the city offices, it would be something like a community or civic center,” Hedberg said, and he asked Weeks to consider that for the community’s long-term plan.

Ness liked the proposed future land use map and specifications for new development, but expressed concern about the city’s Zoning and Planning Committee acting on zoning and building requests without council action on the requests, which will be required under the city’s new growth management plan.

“It’s just the way things have always been done,” he said. “They’re doing a good job, and this is going to be an educational process for all of us.”

“The city council has the final say,” Weeks explained.

Ness also talked about the need for a building inspector and city assessor in the community, especially with the new codes and specifications outlined in the plan and the fact that commercial assessments had not been updated for at least a decade.

Currently, Kenmare has to rely on inspectors or assessors coming from Minot. “We’ve never had the resources to hire somebody with the qualifications,” said alderman Chuck Leet.

Final version available
in January 2012
Weeks asked for a month to complete revisions to the growth management plan before making it available for public review. Once finished and sent to the committee members for a final check, the plan will be made available in both hard copy and online formats.

“That way anyone who is interested can study it,” said Ness. “There will be a public meeting to review the plan later this winter.”

After input and comments from the public meeting, the council will adopt the plan by resolution. “Let’s make this a tool,” Weeks said. “That’s what it’s supposed to be.”