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BISMARCK, N.D. — The Bismarck Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a new growth management plan for the city. The plan also must be approved by the city commission.

A second public hearing on the plan will be held at 5:15 p.m. April 22 at the City/County Building.

The updated plan includes a proposed land use plan, phasing growth, and management controls.

Kim Lee, planning manager for the Bismarck Community Development Department, said the city's population is expected to nearly double from 61,300 to 110,500 in 2040 based on a rapid oil boom formula. She said previously the city's population grew by 1.2 percent per year, but the oil boom growth formula allows for annual growth at 3.5 percent. Between 2012-13, the city’s population grew by 3.1 percent, she said. "That's close to the oil boom scenario," she said.

Lee said since 2000, Bismarck and Burleigh County processed 9,306 residential unit permits (single, apartments and other housing).

Lee said despite the growth, the plan approved Wednesday doesn't rely on the "ghost platting" — assuming that rural residential properties to the north will eventually fill in with denser, urban housing development.

Under the plan, more urban and denser growth may be encouraged to the east of Bismarck instead where there is room, according to Lee. She said commercial growth is expected to continue along U.S. Highway 83 and 66th Street and Interstate 94.

She said rural residential developments like those on 71st Avenue with smaller lots are more likely to remain rural residential. She explained it is more difficult to subdivide 1 1/2- and 2-acre lots. Residents in rural subdivisions often want to remain rural residential because they like their space, she added. Landowners who do want to subdivide their property may still seek changes to their land uses through city planners, Lee said.

Another part of the plan allows a landowner on the edge of the extraterritorial zone to subdivide some of the property, but leave some land undeveloped to better match future annexation into the city. It is not the city's intent to force annexation, but encourage it when practical or when certain rural properties are surrounded by city property, she said.

The growth plan also includes a phasing plan that "discourages leap frog development," Lee said. Developers will be encouraged to build closer to city corporate boundaries in the plan. If they build too far out, developers will front more of the utility and infrastructure costs themselves.

Lee said the reason for the city holding extraterritorial rights just outside its borders is to control land uses in areas where the city is more likely to expand.

She said the growth plan is a guideline and can still be modified according to growth patterns and city needs.

Bill Troe of SRF Consulting said the city could influence where growth occurs by providing infrastructure incentives where it wants the growth to occur, particularly involving arterial and collector road systems.

For more information about the growth plan, visit or call Lee at 701-355-1846.

​Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or