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City looks for best fit for property development

Members of the city of Kenmare Comprehensive Planning Committee took a look at three different concept plans Thursday night that would transform about 13.7 acres of vacant property south of Division Street between 5th and 7th avenues into a new neighborhood.

9/21/11 (Wed)

 

Members of the city of Kenmare Comprehensive Planning Committee took a look at three different concept plans Thursday night that would transform about 13.7 acres of vacant property south of Division Street between 5th and 7th avenues into a new neighborhood.

 

Dee-O Whitehead, vice-president of KDAK LLC, presented the designs to the committee, along with Sean Weeks of Ackerman-Estvold. The plans included a mix of three-story, 12-plex apartment buildings with handicapped accessible and adaptable layouts, single family homes, and duplexes. Whitehead explained he had developed a similar plan in his hometown of Coeur d’Alene, ID.

 

“All those units sold out in less than a year,” he said. “We wanted to create a nice community, and all the designs were fairly consistent.”

 

Weeks noted that no mobile home park was included in any of the concept plans. “We need for the mobile home park to be relocated elsewhere,” he said. “Also, these plans would allow the city to utilize property to the south, toward the old landfill, for a three-season RV park.”

 

Whitehead offered further details about his plans for the separate trailer park. “We would do 20 acres to begin with,” he said. “That would give you 100 spaces. Initially, we would fill 50 spaces with brand new trailers and have those leased. The other half would be spaces available for lease.”

 

In response to committee members’ questions, he explained the trailer park would host a mix of single-, double- and triple-wide trailers.

 

Best use of the property?

As presented, the concept plans would provide for up to 133 housing units on the site. City engineer Ryan Ackerman described the plans as typical residential developments with standard streets. “The question before the committee is, does this fit the community?” he asked. “What do you feel is the best use of the property?”

 

Whitehead mentioned the costs, estimated at $840,000, involved to build the infrastructure needed for such a development, with the city looking at being responsible for $340,000 to $360,000 of that. “We’re trying to target the $135,000 to $225,000 [home price] range,” he said. He noted that by including the apartments and thus increasing the number of residents in the development, the infrastructure costs could be reduced.

 

He also emphasized the need for Kenmare to maintain control over the residential and commercial development expected to occur within the next few years, in response to demands from increased oilfield activity in the region. “This is a nice town,” he said as he compared Kenmare to communities in Mountrail and Williams counties, “and you want it to stay a nice town.”

 

Committee chair Troy Hedberg agreed. “Our goal is that we don’t want to necessarily be attractive to transient workers,” he said. “In the next 10 to 15 years, we want to be attractive to permanent families.”

 

Committee members discussed the three concept plans and changes that could be made, including relocating the apartment buildings, the pros and cons of providing garage spaces for the apartment buildings, and creating a common green space or park area within the development.

 

Whitehead and Weeks called the concept plans a starting point for the city’s consideration. “We can move the multifamily residences more toward 7th Avenue and soften the appearance on the north side of the development,” said Weeks.

 

“We want to make sure the style [of development] we’re doing is attractive,” Hedberg said. “I have no problems with these plans, but we want quality, geared toward permanent residents.”

 

He continued, “We need to get the trailer park done and make it attractive. And if we could get some work done so the RV park was ready to go on April 1st, that sure would be nice.”

 

Whitehead is involved with a variety of development projects in western North Dakota, including housing projects in Tioga and southwest Minot as well as the single family homes under construction in Kenmare along 6th Street next to the baseball field. He appreciates the character of the city and wants to see the community maintain its identity through the oil boom.

 

“I spent a couple of weeks in your town earlier,” he said. “I drove around and I talked to people. I say let’s try to fit what you have here, rather than force.”