City's plan for growth questioned at council meeting
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The future development of Glendive and questions about the possibility of annexing outlying areas to the city were brought to the forefront of Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Pep Waples, a general construction contractor, bemoaned the lack of land available for development within Glendive, especially considering the regional growth being spurred by the Bakken oil boom.
Waples queried council members about the possibilities of not only annexing West Glendive but other undeveloped land contiguous with the city’s boundaries.
He said city officials need to start being proactive about finding room for development.
Councilman Gerald Reichert pointed to an annexation policy adopted by the city in 2012 that puts the onus on property owners in outlying areas to petition the city for annexation. Reichert said that to his knowledge, the city has “never had an actual request” for any area to be annexed.
According to the Montana Code Annotated, however, a municipality need not wait for a petition from property owners to begin annexation procedures.
However, the question of annexing West Glendive to the city has long been a thorny one, a fact Reichert alluded to.
“For everybody who thinks annexing West Glendive would be a good idea, there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.
However, Waples said city officials or other local stakeholders need to start a formal campaign to accurately inform people about the pros, cons and costs of annexing unincorporated areas to address the city’s needs to develop more land for new housing and businesses.
“We need help from everyone in order to make this happen,” Waples said. “We have problems, I know, but there has to be solutions.”
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.