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P&Z Committee denies Laughridge plat proposal

By Staff | Oct 25, 2019

The City of Rugby Planning and Zoning Committee denied a request to plat approximately 20 acres of land near the Chalmers Addition in a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Before voting 2-1 to deny the plat, the committee reviewed a proposal by Gary Laughridge, who told the attendees he was hoping to donate a tract of land in the area for a community center.

Laughridge cited successful community centers in Stanley and Maddock, noting he believed a center in Rugby would serve not only local residents, but communities outside of town.

“The communities I think would be served really well if they get involved with this would be for example, Towner; Willow City, probably even some people from Bottineau; up to Dunseith, over to Cando; going down here to Esmond,” Laughridge said.

“That part of a community center could really bring a lot to our town, and help share the costs. That’s a big deal,” Laughridge noted.

Also present at the meeting was Brad Wangler, President of Rugby First, a non profit 501(c ) 3 corporation hoping to use the proposed addition for a community center.

However, costs for infrastructure related to possibly annexing the land in future were brought up by some of the members of the public assembled at the meeting, as well as by committee member Al Jundt.

After listening to information presented by Thomas Leshovsky, who passed around plat drawings of the proposed Laughridge addition, Jundt asked, “Who’s going to pay for the infrastructure going to this building?”

Jundt asked Wangler, “You want the city to pay for all this development, infrastructure, roads?”

Jundt recommended the county be involved in the meeting.

Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke told the group a public hearing could be scheduled with county commissioners present to discuss more details.

However, members of the public expressed concerns about flood planning and water and sewer infrastructure, which were not detailed in the drawings presented to the committee. More concerns included sufficient access for first responders in a zone between the Laughridge addition and the Chalmers addition which borders the land.

Attendee Neil Lotvedt raised questions about the notification period for the meeting, and involving people living in Christenson Township, who would be affected by the land transfer.

Citing a lack of complete plans and information about costs to the city and concerns about prior construction projects unrelated to the proposed Laughridge addition, Jundt made a motion to deny the plat proposal. Committee member Bruce Rheault seconded Jundt’s motion, and member Jackie Albrecht cast a “no” vote on the motion.

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