Ward 4 residents to vote on council member

Residents of Minot’s Ward 4 will vote to place a new representative on the Minot City Council on Nov. 4, the date of the statewide general election.

At a meeting Monday, the council set the election to fill a vacancy that will occur when Amy Moen steps down July 31. Moen submitted her resignation because she will be leaving Minot to relocate to New Mexico. She was elected in June 2012. The remaining term runs until June 2016.

The filing deadline for residents of the ward who are interested in running is Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. Signatures on nominating petitions may be gathered starting Aug. 3.

The council also took care of a number of other items of business Monday, including the extension of permits for owners of temporary housing units who requested more time to finish repairs on their permanent homes. Extensions to Oct. 1 were granted for 17 units. The city will ensure removal on four other units that had been existing on private lots for which owners did not request extensions.

The council rejected recommendations of the planning commission on controversial projects related to a southeast Minot subdivision and a proposed gravel-crushing operation southeast of the city.

Future Builders submitted a plan for four townhouse units and two three-story apartment buildings, for a total of 61 units, at the corner of 16th Avenue Southeast at 13th Street.

Eric Popinga, speaking for neighbors opposed to the project, cited concerns about the height and location of the apartments and the negative impact on neighboring homes. Neighbors preferred an earlier plan that had included two-story apartment buildings and more townhomes. Popinga asked the council to return the item to the planning commission.

Denise Tischer also was among neighbors speaking in opposition.

“This is where we live. This is our investment. This is our privacy and our quiet enjoyment of property,” she said.

The council voted 6-6, with Mayor Chuck Barney breaking the tie, to reject a motion to return the project to the planning commission. The council then voted 6-6 on a motion to approve the project. Barney voted no because the motion already had failed, lacking the necessary eight votes required for passage.

Voting for the project were Dean Frantsvog, Larry Frey, Amy Moen, Lisa Olson, Tom Seymour and Ben Berg. Voting against were Mark Jantzer, Dave Lehner, Bob Miller, Milt Miller, Dave Pankow and Miranda Schuler. Kevin Connole and Jim Hatlelid were absent.

The council voted 12-0 to deny a permit to allow Sundre Sand & Gravel to set up a temporary gravel-crushing operation on property west of 72nd Street Southeast and north of 37th Avenue Southeast, along 20th Avenue.

The city’s administrative rules for permits of this type require that projects present no health or other hazards, be harmonious with the neighborhood and not depreciate property values.

Speaking for neighbors, Kyle and Melissa Burckhard stated that the project fails to meet the rules. They listed concerns about dangerous air particulates and disruption to the area in having an industrial operation near a residential area.

The proposed operation would be about 750 feet from the nearest residence, according to the company. The company noted that having an operation in the facility of the 55th Crossing development would eliminate more than 7,000 truck trips to haul aggregate to the area.

The Burckhards responded that neighbors preferred the traffic to the mining and crushing. They added that 55th Street already is torn up for infrastructure construction and would need to be rebuilt even if truck traffic wasn’t wearing on it.

In other business, the council approved spending $4.3 million from the MAGIC Fund for expansion at the Port of North Dakota. The money would be used for site work and associated costs in the development of about 120 acres of land in Minot’s Value-Added Agricultural Complex-Port of North Dakota. Minot Area Development Corp. will reimburse the MAGIC Fund from the proceeds of sales of the land owned in the area.

The council approved moving forward with a $31 million downtown infrastructure improvement project. The project still must be approved by the federal Economic Development Administration, which is providing the bulk of the funding. Depending on when the approval comes, the project could begin late this fall or likely next spring.

The council approved spending more than $2 million in sales tax dollars from the community facilities fund to support three projects. The projects include a third $1 million installment in a $4 million commitment to Minot State University’s Herb Parker Stadium; a second $1 million in a $3 million commitment to Minot Park District’s Maysa Arena expansion; and $150,000 to add to $287,439 previously approved to cover costs of rebuilding the flooded Longfellow skating rink at Perkett Elementary School.