City eyes expansion
At the Pierce County planning and zoning meeting on Monday, the main focus was whether it would be possible to expand the City of Rugby.
Both the city and Pierce County are attempting to have comprehensive land use contingencies in place should the city’s population surpass two milestones, in terms of population: exceeding both the 3,500 and 4,000 marks.
Should both of those milestones be surpassed, the plan would be to extraterritorially extend the boundaries making up the Rugby city limits to one mile from the present boundaries. Doing so would accommodate commercial, agricultural and residential development as the city grows.
City Council member Jim Hoffert wanted the meeting to at least start a dialogue on the subject.
Originally, per Chapter 40.47 of the North Dakota Century Code, a city can extend zoning regulations “to any quarter quarter section” if it is located within certain distances “of the corporate limits of the city”. Zoning regulations can be extended to a mile if the city has a population that is less than 5,000; two miles if the city has a population greater than 5,000, but less than 25,000; and four miles if the city’s population exceeds 25,000. However, section four of House Bill 1321 reduced extraterritorial zoning authority to half-a-mile if the city’s population is less than 5,000; one mile if the population is between 5,000 and 24,999; and two miles if the population is greater than 25,000.
Currently under state law, the city of Rugby has extraterritorial jurisdiction up to a half of a mile, as noted by Pierce County States Attorney Galen Mack during the meeting.
Pierce County Tax Director Kelsey Siegler presented one conflict: Rugby’s city limits aren’t clearly defined. Certain maps in the courthouse have places thought to be in the city, such as parts of East Side Village, or places that have city water and sewer extended but are not actually within city limits.
Another question brought up during the meeting was townships surrounding Rugby, specifically Christenson, Meyer and Torgerson townships, and how much they would be involved in zoning, if at all.
A third issue would be who would be in charge of issuing permits within the jurisdiction, whether the city, county or both would have permitting authority at certain points within and beyond the mile.
Mack also mentioned that more research would be needed, and he asked whether or not anyone on the board had spoken with someone from the League of Cities who does this kind of thing, or found out whether there are any other towns that have done, or are looking at doing, the same thing. It had been found that in the past the city of Dickinson and Stark County had permit battles related to city extension.
When asked by County Commission Chairman Duane Johnston as to whether or not the county should grant the city its extension, Mack couldn’t give an answer.
After more research is complete, the absolute latest the planning and zoning board would want to meet again on the subject would be in March.
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