May 23, 2013

New Town looks at planning needs

New Town looks at planning needs
By Jerry W. Kram

The influx of people looking at developing in and around New Town has encouraged the New Town City Council to focus on revitalizing its planning process.
The first step in that process was to bring the city’s planning and zoning commission back up to full strength. Councilman Darrell Salter said he had approached some individuals and asked them if they would like to serve on the committee, but hadn’t received a firm answer. Two people were needed to join El Marie Conklin, Marc Bluestone and Warren Bratvold and bring the zoning board back up to full strength. John DeGroot and Thomas Nash attended the council meeting and volunteered to serve on the zoning board.
DeGroot is the chief of the volunteer fire department. New Town’s zoning ordinance requires developers to contact and get approval from emergency services, such as the fire and police departments, before they can receive a building permit. DeGroot said he wanted to serve on the board to make sure those requirements were followed.
“It’s good that we can fill these vacancies,” said New Town Mayor Dan Uran. “We need for the zoning board to take a more active role under these circumstances.”
The need for a more active zoning board was highlighted by a presentation from a group called Bakken Housing and Investments. The group’s president, Tony Krejci said he was working with the North Segment Development Corporation to help it create a plan to redevelop Main Street in New Town. Krejci, who said he was 62, developed his first mall at the age of 25. He presented the council with a five page resume of the projects he has been involved in.
Salter asked why Krejci was making this presentation to the city council when the businesses on Main Street are privately owned. Salter said he should be meeting with those businesses if he wants to move his vision forward.

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