Committee begins review of zoning updates

A nine-member committee began working through trouble spots in a zoning ordinance update for the City of Minot Monday.

During the day-long session at City Hall, the committee discussed a number of issues, from towers and signage rules to residential and commercial zoning requirements. Committee chairman Dave Pankow, also chairman of the Minot Planning Commission, said the group reached consensus in a number of areas, although getting the proper wording will take more time.

“There was just a lot of clarity issues once we got it on the table. We knew we were aiming in the right direction. We just needed to change the verbiage for how we are going to get there,” Pankow said.

The committee included representatives of real estate sales, developers, builders, the public, planning commission and an advisory committee that helped develop a comprehensive plan. Various interest groups have supported an updated zoning code but because of community concerns about portions of the draft, the city set up the committee process so groups could have more input.

The Minot Association of Builders had been concerned that aesthetic components were “over-reaching and intrusive.” Developers have had problems with certain restrictions on how much of a property can be built upon, and the Minot Board of Realtors had similar concerns, along with concerns about homeowner association and landscaping requirements.

The committee worked through these and other issues while considering the desire of city planners for construction standards that protect neighbors’ property values.

“Through this process, it’s truly the intent to walk away and have ordinances to make a better city of Minot. That’s the goal,” Pankow said.

The Minot Park District requested that the committee consider incorporating its policy proposal regarding parks, trails, playgrounds and recreational areas in new residential, commercial and industrial developments. Park board members have been concerned that the draft ordinances don’t include park district growth plans.

The city provided its planning consultant, Stantec, with the park district’s policy proposal so ordinances can be drafted to implement it. Pankow said the committee has been discussing the existing draft of ordinances but will review additional ordinances related to parks at a future meeting.

Pankow expects the committee to have two more meetings before completing its work. The committee’s recommendation could go to the Minot Planning Commission at its May 28 meeting. The proposed ordinances will be posted on the city website prior to the meeting. The public will have a chance to comment at the commission meeting as well as at the following Minot City Council meetings.

The planning commission will make a recommendation to the council regarding the ordinance updates. The changes require affirmative votes at two council meetings for passage.