Room 4 more: Height regulation change may mean hotels to make way to Dickinson

by April Baumgarten | Jun 20, 2012
A Fargo developer announced Wednesday it plans to build four hotels west of Dickinson.

A Fargo developer announced Wednesday it plans to build four hotels west of Dickinson.

Dickinson Planning and Zoning commissioners unanimously approved Roers' Development request to allow 60-foot structures in general commercial zones, up from 45 feet, during their meeting at City Hall. The hotels will be four stories each, which will be on about 210 acres of land north of Interstate 94.

Housing and places to stay have become increasingly difficult to find in oil country, as a flood of people head to the area.

There are more than 17 operating hotels with 1,000 rooms in Dickinson, according to the Dickinson Convention and Visitor Bureau website.

People in Dickinson have anticipated what will go on Roers' West Ridge First Addition, which is north of Exit 59. Roers' expects to disclose what businesses are coming to that area Friday, President Larry Nygard said.

The commission should offer a better reason for the change, said Levi Andrist, a Vogel Law Firm attorney from Bismarck. He said Vogel had an interest in the development but didn’t go into detail.

"A 33 percent height increase in a district is not a small increase," he said. "This is an across-the-board change."

The change makes sense instead of approving four separate requests for each hotel, City Planner Ed Courton said, adding it is a chance for the code to evolve.

"They have been incredibly very, very reliable with what they do and what they have presented," Commission Chairman Earl Abrahamson said of Roers' after the meeting.

The Dickinson City Commission must approve the height change and the plat before construction begins.

At a stand-still

Commissioners are tired of waiting on housing to be built, and there may be repercussions.

"We have a number of subdivisions in the community that have been platted for some time, that have been rezoned for some time and are sitting idle," Commissioner Gene Jackson said, adding the city may have to look at "reverse-zoning" those properties.

Some have been zoned but not built for almost three years, including a 20-acre development in south Dickinson proposed by Dickinson architect Dennis Hulsing, who proposed the subdivision last summer, Abrahamson said. There are reasons, such as financing, deception and speculation on the housing market, he added, but it is hurting people who need housing.

"Here we are, trying to do zoning and planning, and nothing is done there, and yet we have a need for housing," he said. "We do all the work, and they don't build anything."

The city needs to be careful, but it should have the tactic "in its toolbox," Jackson said.

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