Zoning changes go too far

At a work session tonight, members of the Minot Planning Commission will continue to discuss sweeping changes and additions to the city’s zoning ordinances. The meeting is planned for 6:30 tonight at City Hall.

We hope the meeting is full of members of the public as well as representatives from all construction companies doing business in the area. The proposal, if approved later by the full City Council, would have great and costly impacts on businesses and individuals alike.

Of great concern is the breadth and scope of a massive document discussing the proposed changes, which have been in the works for some time now. Of greater concern is that these changes appear to be dangerously close to being approved, without nearly enough public comment and input from local residents and industry professionals.

The changes would affect every aspect of new construction and remodeling.

– The single-family residential district section says there can be “no bright or garish shingles.” New homes must be built so that the entrance faces the street. Each side of a home must have at least one window or door opening.

– In the commercial section, there are restrictions on colors of siding and shingles, and requirements for roofs, fencing, windows, doors and exterior design.

There are hundreds more examples we could write here. We understand there must be reasonable oversight regarding construction within the city. But the proposal goes far, far beyond reasonable. If adopted, the changes would cause construction delays and would quickly raise the cost of construction, and the cost of housing in Minot. Is that something the city really wants to do during a period of flood recovery? We wouldn’t think so.

The city needs to rethink this proposal, and the harmful effects of such unnecessary and draconian changes.