The Minot City Council narrowly voted to push a traffic light requested by Trinity Health near its new medical complex under construction in southwest Minot.
The council voted 4-3 on Monday to create the city’s first special assessment area for a traffic light. Only one owner protested in the proposed area, owning 4% of the property. City engineer Lance Meyer told the council that Trinity owns a large share of the property in the proposed area, but less than half.
Councilman Paul Bittner argued that the traffic light at 23rd Avenue and 37th Avenue Southwest should be the responsibility of Trinity. A 2017 traffic study commissioned by the city when Trinity began development noted the need for traffic lights. Now, five years later, Trinity is seeking a special appraisal district that would increase the tax burden on owners of surrounding properties, he said.
The city of Minot typically places the responsibility for mitigating the impacts identified in the traffic study on the developer through developer agreements, Meyer said, although other cities in the state may handle these situations differently.
The next steps are to design the project, allow bids and allocate costs to the property owners. The council can still abandon the area at any time along the way.
A portion of the neighborhood lies outside the city limits, as the city has no taxing authority. These costs will be collected by the city until the property is annexed and can be taxed. Meyer said the City of Minot has already spent more than $36 million to develop a Southwest Minot water tower, plumbing, sewer extension, and 37th Avenue to the Southwest.
Councilwoman Lisa Olson indicated minimal protest in her decision to support the Special Evaluation District.
“Obviously, most of them don’t have much acidity in seeing that assessment. I have to take that into account. All the new business is there because the hospital is in that area,” She said. “They can see the potential, so I think they’d benefit from having that traffic light in there.”
Olson was joined in voting for the district by Mark Jantzer, Stefan Podrigola and Carey Evans. He voted with Bittner against Mayor Tom Ross and incoming councilman Scott Burlingame.