By Eric Killelea
The Williams County Commission approved the first major residential development east of Williston.
Commissioners last week voted in favor of Shelter Construction’s request for a preliminary plat and a comprehensive plan amendment regarding a 35-unit housing development in Stony Creek Township off Highway 1804.
The 110-acre property was rezoned from agricultural to residential two years ago. The Planning and Zoning Commission was hesitant to recommend approval for the project to the commissioners, as the county strives to direct housing projects west and north of town in accordance with the comprehensive growth plan.
Jay Nord of Shelter Construction said his building plans changed after speaking with members of the Stony Creek Township board.
An original plan included a 75-unit residential plan, Nord said. The new plan involves 35 units, which is in compliance with the county’s growth vision.
Initial concerns about traffic increases are being met as Nord has engaged in conversations with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, which has approved the rearranging of an access point for the property.
This includes access to Highway 1804 rather than previous plans to drive onto 109th Street, which county officials have determined as having a “deadly corner.”
Shelter Construction is complying with planning and zoning recommendations to provide acceleration and deceleration lanes onto the highway and is now talking with the state about installing roundabouts on the property.
Nord has also complied with recommendations to pave roads within the subdivision, which could run him $15,000 per lot, an estimated $1 million endeavor according to his calculations.
The planning and zoning department staff has expressed excitement over this proposed project, saying it’s the type of development staff wants to see in the county — more residential units on a larger lot sizes with paved roads.
In other business
Commissioners denied Lester Getzlaff’s request for zone change from agricultural to commercial on his property located in Pherrin Township.
The commissioners, however,approved a conditional use permit for the owner to construct commercial buildings on his property to store his equipment. This gives him the flexibility to keep his business on agricultural land.
Craig Getzlaff, who spoke on his cousin’s behalf, said Lester has operated his trucking business on the land for more than 30 years and deserves the zone change for his family’s sake and for what he has provided his community.
“Lester feels like he’s singled out,” Craig said last week. “I really want to have this zoned commercial.”
Commissioners said rezoning the property doesn’t comply with the county’s comprehensive growth plan. They wanted to help Lester but protect Pherrin Township from unwanted future growth.
“The comprehensive plan has been contorted all over the county,” Craig said. “I know you have to draw the line. But it’s hard to be on that line.”
Ultimately, the commissioners approved its CUP in favor of Lester constructing two buildings: one 60-by-100 and another 37-by-60 structure.