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Page 6 ■ Thursday, January 12, 2012 Roads: Deadliest in 30 years

By JENNY MICHAEL Bismarck Tribune

Though the fi nal tally won’t be completed until later this month, 2011 already

can be considered the deadliest year on North Dakota roads in almost 30 years. North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Jody Skogen said the offi cial fatality num-

ber won’t be tallied until the end of January, in order to include anyone who dies from injuries sustained in a 2011 wreck. Through Jan. 4, state offi cials knew of 148 people who died in 130 crashes on North Dakota roads in 2011. The mark is a high for the state since the early 1980s. Fatalities have remained

below 150 since 1982. The all-time high was more than 200, set in 1971. Preliminary statistics from the North Dakota Highway Patrol show that 123 people died while driving or riding in motor vehicles, 14 died while riding mo- torcycles, 10 pedestrians were killed and one person was killed by a train during 2011. Of the 123 people killed in motor vehicle crashes, 82 were not wearing seat

belts. Of the 148 people killed overall, 52 were killed in alcohol-related crashes. The crash breakdowns are similar to other recent years, even though the

number of fatalities is higher. “The causation factors are consistent,” Skogen said. He said it is disheartening to see how many people are killed in crashes that

could have been avoided, like the alcohol-related crashes. Also hard for safety offi cials to understand is the number of people who don’t wear seat belts. People cannot assume they will not be involved in crashes, he said. “When you don’t have your seat belt on, you’re exposing yourself to risk,”

Skogen said. According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation, vehicle miles

traveled have increased annually in recent years. In 2008, people traveled more than 7.6 billion miles across the state, fol-

lowed by more than 7.9 billion miles in 2009 and more than 8.3 million in 2010. Through Dec. 20, more than 40 percent of the fatalities in 2011 had occurred in northwest North Dakota where energy development has increased populations and traffi c.

No housing likely Continued from page 1

a move that could give the location per- manency within the horse group. Dolechek said Killdeer doesn’t have

Dolechek said. Annabelle Homes chief executive of-

much city-owned property, but private land on all but the south side of the city could possibly be developed for housing. “There’s a defi nite need for it,”

fi cer Dean Dovolis said his group prefers the Highway 22 location because it’s in city limits and leads into the town’s busi- ness district. “It’s tight to the center of downtown and helps make the city more viable,” Dovolis said. “It follows the logic of city planning.” He said having to bring utilities to another location would make the proj- ect more expensive and Killdeer would lose the opportunity to have a project that taps off the highway for commercial structures and puts new homes right in town. Another factor in the mix is the long-

awaited High Plains Cultural Center, a kind of civic center for the whole county, which will go into construction this year in the same area. Terrald Bang is vice president for the

cultural center project and has ties to the rodeo and the county fair association. Bang said there’s a general consensus among all three groups that they would like the rodeo grounds to stay put. “We need someone in here to get some housing started. The only problem is we like where the rodeo grounds are at and it costs a lot of money to move them,” Bang said. “A lot of people are on both boards and the thought is, we would kind of like to keep it where it is.” On the other hand, Bang said no one

wants to drive Annabelle Homes away from Killdeer. “Hopefully, they can work with the

city commission to fi nd another place,” he said. “Hopefully, it isn’t dead yet.” (Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or


From left, McKenzie County Auditor Linda Svihovec and county Commissioners Dale Patton and Ron Anderson are seen during discussion of the zoning issue.

no-brainer,” Veeder said. The county had decided against zon-

“That was a tough vote. It wasn’t a

ing as recently as June after a fi rst set of meetings, but the past half year has been unprecedented for growth. He said the zoning will help the

but the county staff is getting a handle on it,” he said. Still, he said, “There are counties that

county make sure that new man camp housing, for example, meets basic re- quirements for sewer and water and its developers are bonded so they clean up the site when the housing is pulled out. Veeder said it wasn’t a “yippee” kind

McKenzie County Continued from page 1

did have zoning and they still have some problems. I think the community needs a say in how development takes place.” Deidre Berquist, McKenzie County

of day for the county, nor should any- one get the idea that development isn’t wanted. “I don’t see this as the hammer go-

ing down, but now there’ll be one go-to place to do business here,” he said. Commissioner Dale Patton said he’s seen a lot of people, like Transtrom, change their minds about zoning. Over the past couple of months, eight

new state law that lets counties permit and place fees on skid units, modulars and self-contained housing, though RVs and mobile homes are still exempt be- cause they are subject to a state license fee.

tax director, said zoning should help ease an “out-of-control feeling” in the county. Berquist is taking advantage of a fairly

of the county’s organized townships drafted their own zoning ordinances, making unzoned townships next door worry they’d get the all the impact. Pat- ton said that changed some minds out in the countryside. That’s what happened to McKenzie

County when other counties in the oil patch put moratoriums on more tem- porary housing until they could get a handle on infrastructure. “We got hit pretty hard with those

moratoriums in other counties. We did not have any choice,” Veeder said. Patton said it would have been easier

to implement zoning two years ago, be- fore the recent big push for temporary housing and truck parking, especially, proliferated along the helter-skelter U.S. Highway 85 corridor. “I don’t really know what’s out there,

all of the temporary housing sites — she estimates there are between 200 and 250 of them with an unknown total number of “beds” — and contacting their owners so she can start collecting a fee of $1.50 per square foot to help pay for emergen- cy services and other county costs. Her job will be easier when develop- ers and private property owners have to come in to get zoning for such sites in the future. “My goal is to know what in the heck is going on out there,” Berquist said. The county’s action creates a nine- person planning board that will draft zoning ordinances — likely with help from a regional development council — for the commission’s approval. The Jan. 3 action also allows hiring

a zoning coordinator and assistant. It’s expected a zoning department will cost the county about $250,000, though the permit fees for temporary housing could be used to offset that. (Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or

Berquist has the tough job of fi nding

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