What's a city to do?
As Minot city officials struggle with the urgent need to find housing for new residents and those residents displaced by flooding, they're also tasked with the burden of deciding what's good for the city in the long term.
And rarely do those two concerns agree.
Members of the Minot Planning Committee found themselves in the middle of the dilemma Monday night, declining to support three proposed housing projects and tabling discussion on another housing plan. Committee members listened to concerns about increased traffic and drainage problems, leading them to recommend the full city council reject the three proposals.
In the end, no one is happy.
Developers are frustrated because there is a clear and immediate need for housing in Minot, yet some proposals cannot find enough support to move forward. Two of Monday's discussed projects are in southwest Minot, where concerns over traffic on 20th Avenue Southwest and drainage issues with Puppy Dog Coulee led commissioners to vote against them. The other project, a smaller 12-lot project at the intersection of 72nd Street and 11th Avenue Southeast, was not supported because of water and drainage concerns. The tabled project is located west of ING, north of 21st Avenue Northwest.
Members of the committee are frustrated because, while they understand the need for housing, they also know they must be part of responsible planning to avoid potential problems in the future.
We understand that, but Puppy Dog Coulee has been an issue for years, as has the condition of 20th Avenue Southwest, yet little or nothing has been done to rectify the problems. The city is now in an emergency mode, but the fixes can't be accomplished overnight. Couldn't some street improvements be done at the same time a housing project is being built?
Something is going to have to give. Minot and its decision-makers simply cannot continue on the current path of identifying urgent housing needs, yet rejecting proposals because of problems that should have been fixed years ago.