State and Local Leaders Tour Developments in Dickinson

by Amber Schatz | Mar 13, 2012
A housing shortage in Dickinson is as clear as the visible dust from all the construction and truck action around town...

A housing shortage in Dickinson is as clear as the visible dust from all the construction and truck action around town.

That's why, U.S., state and local leaders are taking a tour of what's being built, and how to crack the housing crunch.

The view from the Kunze's front yard has changed a lot.

"You could look any direction and could see a long distance, now all you see is houses." says Robert and Lois J. Kunze.

The couple says they bought their town home in '03.

"It's just tremendous how this town has gone from little to big! And all these apartments these houses, apartments and stuff, people look for housing and they can't find it." says Lois.

"We've heard some really bad stories about people getting evicted from their places, which is true, because we know some of the places, 800 to a couple 1000 dollars increase, that's not right." says Robert.

Issues that are being addressed at all levels.

"That's one of the most critical things, is people who are on a fixed income and have seen rents and housing prices rise, how do we keep them on a retirement or fixed income in a community they've lived all their life." says Rep. Rick Berg/North Dakota.

The Kunze's live right across from where Congressman Berg and local officials are touring.

"My objective is to bring everyone together, part of the solution is the private sector, meeting the demand out here, I'm trying to find out if there are barriers that can be removed, how do we create more housing." says Berg.

Dickinson's city planner says demand for housing probably won't go down for at least five years, but a mild winter has helped builders keep working.

"Business is real good as long as we can keep land and services in front of us." says Shane Roers/Roers West President.

Roer's has several residential, multi-family and commercial developments in the works.

"We're trying to get some rental that is affordable, there is the low income side, we're going to try and address too, this is just rental rate housing as fast as we can build it, and they're filling." says Roers.

Around 60 leases signed, and 40 people on the waiting list, with an even longer line, waiting to see what's yet to come.

Dickinson city planner Ed Courton says around overall 450 building permits were issued in 2011.

In just the first two months of 2012 the city already had issued around 270 building permits, that's more than half the record high year in 2011.

Courton says they will know in the next 30 days what kind of capacity the city's water and sewer can handle.

That's when Apex Engineering will turn in their full report to the city.

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