Expanding City Limits | VideoAlex Hagan | 10/31/2012
Like every western North Dakota community, Dickinson is becoming overcrowded. The need for more housing, infrastructure and businesses increases as more newcomers arrive. Now city leaders are requesting the annexation of more than two thousand acres for development. Most of the land would be used for housing.
"Because of the cost of infrastructure extensions and such we`re taking a good hard look at every single one of them and making sure that it`s the right move and that they`re inside our urban service boundary," said City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
Many landowners have requested annexation because they like to have city services like police and public works. But it also brings some challenges, such as infrastructure needs. City leaders have developed a comprehensive plan showing the community will need about $700 million to connect water, sewer, and other services.
"Certainly after the housing units go up and the retail businesses go up, that`s when it`s really going to impact a certain segment of service levels like police departments," Kessel said.
The police department is already short on staff. More neighborhoods means more places for law enforcement to cover.
"It`s going to require more staff, more equipment and more man hours to maintain the area," said Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger.
But they are already taking steps to keep up with the city`s growth.
"We`ve divided our town into patrol zones and that`s kind of a step in the right direction especially with the challenges we`re going to face in the future," Dassinger said.
City leaders plan to make sure they fill lots that already have service first before moving to annexed land.
"If that gets done first and that provides the need then maybe that delays or maybe we don`t even need to expand beyond where we don`t have services," Kessel said.
But if the city`s population is expected to double, expanding city limits may be the only option.
City leaders will propose the annexation of another 600 plus acres at next week`s commission meeting.