The Ward County Commission narrowly approved a zoning change that will allow a new residential development north of Minot today -- but not before some heated discussion on whether or not the project should be allowed to move forward.
Developers want to build Northrop Acres just north of Minot in Eureka Township.
The 40-plus home development would be constructed just to the east of Highway 83.
It has been in limbo, as developers fight to get the zoning change to allow the project.
The debate today came down to an argument of what matters most -- the laws on the books...or what citizens desire.
Eureka Township board member Gary Granzotto says the zoning request meets all requirements on the books...but Commissioner Jerome Gruenberg said he feels the people don't want it -- so it should be denied.
(Jerome Gruenberg - Ward County Commissioner) "This country is run by the will of the people. It is government for the people and if what I am hearing at those meetings, unless I am in the dark here, everybody -- or the majority of the people -- were against this." (Gary Granzotto - Eureka Township Board of Supervisors) "In my opinion it is either rule by the crowd...or rule by law. I believe that our zoning ordinance and our comprehensive plan are the law that needs to be equally applied to whoever comes before us and asks for a zoning change." (Jerome Gruenberg - Ward County Commissioner) "If this was in my neighborhood and all of neighbors came out and said they don't want it there...and I don't want it there, then I am going to vote against it too. This makes no sense. You are elected to represent the people and what I am hearing is that the people don't want it there. I will not support this."
Chairman Gruenberg did NOT support it -- and Alan Walter joined him in voting no, but the other three commissioners voted in favor of the zoning change allowing the project to proceed.
To proceed, developers must meet guidelines set by the commission today -- and they must construct another station for the Minot Rural Fire Department in Northrop Acres, transferring ownership of the facility before any homes are occupied.