County gives zoning ordinance a boost


Staff Writer


Planning and zoning issues dominated Tuesday morning’s regular meeting of the Ward County Commissioners.

The meeting ran for three hours but was still well structured and efficient with vice chairman Jerome Gruenberg at the gavel in chairman Jack Nybakken’s absence.

The zoning ordinance

The Planning and Zoning commission on Thursday night passed a group of four immediate changes onto the Ward County Commissioners for a reading to get the delayed reworking of the county unified zoning ordinance off the ground.

Those changes were detailed in Friday’s The Minot Daily News, but were considered shoe-ins by the planning and zoning commission. That turned out to be right, as the county commissioners understood the basic necessity of these most oft-complained-about issues.

Less sure was commissioner John Fjeldahl’s proposal to compensate property owners for their land should a governmental body like a county or a township take it from them in a right-of-way. His proposal, which he has been talking about for months and wrote the wording for himself, failed when he was the only commissioner to vote in its favor.

“I hope people understand what we are trying to do,” he said. “I’m disappointed it didn’t pass, of course, but I think the planning commission will be, too, because it passed there. And the general public isn’t going to like it either. … I just don’t believe in government taking people’s property without compensation.”

More community development concerns

The commissioners made a motion to have Planning and Zoning administrator Amber Turnquest draft up a special use permit for Terry Streifel, who was appealing a denial for rezoning an agricultural lot he owns a few miles north of Minot into a C2, or medium commercial, property.

Streifel claims that he only wants a place to park his trucks and that he has no intentions of actually using the lot for commercial purposes.

“I heard rumors that I was going to put a man camp in there,” Streifel said. “That’s completely untrue. … The plans are to use it to park my equipment on. We may at some point, if I have relatives or something come and want to stay a week or something we may park a motor home there.”

He says there are no plans for that, but seemed willing to allow that he may occasionally use it for something personal like that.

Several residents of the area spoke up that they were concerned for the road in the area. They claim the road has gotten torn up by semi-trucks driving through the area. One man, who seemed to be speaking the general consensus, said that he has no problem with Streifel parking his trucks there but just doesn’t want it to be a signal for more trucking in the area or for someone after Streifel to use a commercial property in the rural area for something heavier than Streifel’s usage.

“Because it’s semis and trucks it has to be C2. You’re not allowed to have truck parking and park operation on a C1 zone,” explained Ward County highway engineer Dana Larsen on why Streifel was seeking a C2.

Streifel said that he’d be perfectly willing to have a special permit just allowing for his limited use of the property without changing the zoning. This was an idea the commissioners developed in order to allow Streifel to park his trucks there but keeping the concerns of the residents in mind.

IT update

Ward County information technology administrator, Jason Blowers, presented a new idea for a logo for the upcoming county website. The logo will incorporate several things that Blowers and his team had identified as prominent markers of the people who live here.

Those five elements are: the Stave Church at Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, a tower and plane representing the Air Force base, the wind generators, the wildlife, and agriculture. Images appear on a golden shield on green ribbon.

The logo didn’t go over terribly well. Fjeldahl suggested that one of the Air Force towers be replaced with a grain elevator to better represent agriculture, something he feels is “pretty predominant in the county.” Commissioner Shelly Weppler also said she would prefer the logo to be in the distinct shape of the county and not a shield.

“We’re making very good progress on the website,” Blowers said of the website itself. Green and gold have been picked for the primary colors. Historical data from 2011 will also automatically be transferred to the new website but anything earlier would need to be manually uploaded.

Other business

The county reviewed and approved $1,893,651.53 in regular bills, $36,589.13 in social welfare bills, and $72,208.72 in Human Services bills.

County property acquisition was extended until Dec. 31 for flooded properties.