Posted 12/31/12 (Mon)
By Lauren Billing
Farmer Staff Writer
Walter Hadley, McKenzie County Planning director, and the Zoning and Land Use Planning Committee have been working with the Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development for the past year grooming a comprehensive zoning and land use plan. During that time they have held a number of public hearings and meetings in an effort to decide where McKenzie County wants to grow and how that growth should be structured.
The plan looks at a variety of areas, including economic development, natural resources, public facilities and services and transportation, recreation and housing. All of these areas were explored with the vision of making McKenzie County “a place where agriculture remains the primary use of land, but will coexist with alternate uses which complement agriculture.”
While implementing the plan itself will be a big change for McKenzie County, Hadley believes the biggest accomplishment of the comprehensive plan has been its ability to keep the county largely agriculturally zoned.
“Not including the townships, I believe we have about 95 percent of the county zoned for agriculture,” says Hadley.
With the completion of the plan quickly approaching, the committee is holding one last public hearing before it is presented to the McKenzie County Commissioners. The public hearing will be held at the Watford City Civic Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 3.
The hearing will include the presentation of the final document and will also seek public comments on the plan. The Zoning Committee will then have the flexibility for two more final meetings in order to make any adjustments the public recommends and the committee deems necessary before the plan goes before the McKenzie County Commissioners at their Jan. 23 meeting.
If the zoning plan is adopted at this meeting the county will officially announce its acceptance, which will then begin a 30-day notice and appeal period. At the end of that notification period the zoning will become active throughout the county.
“We really encourage the public to be involved,” says Hadley. “The zoning plan will only be as good as the public input we get. We understand that not everyone will agree on everything, but it should reflect where the community wants to go.”
More information about the comprehensive zoning and land use plan can be found at www.County.McKenzieCounty.net.