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Kenmare working on plan for growth

The inquiries keep coming to the Kenmare city auditor’s desk:

2/08/12 (Wed)

By Caroline Downs

The inquiries keep coming to the Kenmare city auditor’s desk:

Where can I find a rental?

Where could I locate a trucking company in town?

What land is available to develop for family housing?

Where could we set up a man camp?

Where can I put a trailer house?

The questions never stop, and Kenmare’s leaders want a written plan to respond in an organized manner before losing control of the city’s best features.

That document, the City of Kenmare Growth Management Plan, is now ready for public review and discussion. Kenmare mayor Roger Ness hopes local residents will take the time to read it and attend a public meeting on February 22nd to offer their comments and perspective.

“The plan is very important for the future of this town,” he said. “It’s a way for looking at how we’re going to be able to grow, and where.”

He continued, “We want this to be thorough enough so everyone has input.”

Four elements
in the Kenmare Plan
Work on the Growth Management Plan began in April 2011 with a population projection study by Keith Witwer & Associates, Minot, which suggests Kenmare will grow to 1,853 permanent residents within the next 14 years, related to regional oil and gas development and potential potash development in Burke County. According to the study, a temporary peak population of 1,906 residents would include more transient residents. The estimates represent an increase of 703 permanent and 53 temporary residents.

The Plan has been developed as a framework of goals, discussion and policies to chart an ordered pattern of expansion for the city in terms of future land use, housing and economy, infrastructure, and growth. The city of Kenmare intends the Plan to be used as a guide for city officials, landowners, developers and other parties interested in future land use decisions.

Kenmare encompasses about 887.9 acres, including the airport and some agricultural property, along with residential, commercial and industrial areas. A key element of the Plan is that the extra-territorial limits of the city are extended one mile beyond the corporate limits to provide a total area of 3,768 acres, or 5.89 square miles.

The Plan’s first element addresses future land use with a goal of a balanced land use pattern. Allowable land uses, as depicted on the Future Land Use Map, include residential, mobile home, recreational vehicle, commercial, industrial, public, recreation and agricultural, with specific acreages designated for each use. The land use determinations and intensity limits defined and described in the Plan will become legally binding when the plan is adopted by the City Council.

Sean Weeks, engineer with Ackerman-Estvold in Minot, emphasized the legal power of the document. “You can deny a zone change on the basis it does not comply with the land use and management plan,” he told the Growth Management Plan focus committee.

The next element of the Plan’s focuses on housing and the local economy, based on the premise Kenmare needs affordable, safe and sanitary housing in a decent living environment to meet the demands of the current and future population. Policies for the housing goal include the redevelopment of existing mobile home parks, connections with the municipal water and sewer systems, and development of affordable housing, among others.

Additional goals deal with economic expansion, recreation, property maintenance, historic preservation and redevelopment of areas where properties are being under-utilized.

The Plan’s third element deals with infrastructure, with 10 policies that target the sewer and water system. One of those policies relates to the proposed expansion of city sewer and water to the area east of U.S. Highway 52, with north and south sections. The north section would be served by 8” and 10” pipe and one lift station, while the south end of the expansion would be served by 8” pipe and its own lift station.

“That’s going to open up hundreds of acres for development,” Ness said.

An appendix to the Plan estimates the cost for the north expansion at $3.302 million, with engineering and contingency costs, while the south expansion is projected to cost $1.163 million.

Other goals for infrastructure include development standards, solid waste, and the city’s roadway system, including a policy regarding signage or lights for traffic control in locations that experience high traffic volumes.

The Plan also contains a map showing two proposed bypass options around the city of Kenmare for Ward County 2. “It’s something that should be in there, if the city wants to consider these things in the future,” said Weeks.

The final element addressed by the Plan relates to the city’s growth, with policies listed for a revised Zoning Ordinance, the city’s extra-territorial authority, annexation and the Renaissance Zone. The Plan lists an additional policy regarding the expansion of the city offices, including detention space and administrative offices. A new community center may also be considered in the future.

Public’s input and questions
wanted February 22nd
A public meeting to take questions and comments on the Growth Management Plan for the city of Kenmare will be held Wednesday, February 22nd, at the Kenmare Fire Hall beginning at 7 pm.

Copies of the Growth Management Plan, with the accompanying maps, are available for review at the Kenmare city auditor’s office during business hours. The Plan can also be viewed online and downloaded in its entirety through a link at

Weeks noted the narrative portion of the Plan is merely 25 pages long, with an additional 30 pages of color maps, followed by appendices that include the full Kenmare Population Study, breakdowns of the proposed utility expansion areas cost estimates, the Renaissance Zone tax rules, and a list of grant and loan programs available to the city.

“We’ve got to have something that’s digestible,” Weeks said. “This hits the important points in the infrastructure element, the growth element, the housing element and the economy element.”

Ness encouraged all interested Kenmare area residents to read a copy of the Plan. He believed longtime citizens could offer a valuable perspective, while new residents may want to comment on the Plan’s vision for the community.

“We hope people take an interest in it,” he said. “The more people, the more ideas we get. We want to make sure this is what we want for the city.”

Suggestions from the public meeting will be considered before the Kenmare Planning & Zoning Commission meets in April, at which time the Plan will be submitted for approval on first reading. The second reading to approve the Plan could take place at the Kenmare City Council meeting scheduled for April 9th.

Contact the Kenmare city auditor at 701-385-4232 with further questions about the city’s draft Growth Management Plan.