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Meetings seek input on how to plan for growth

Planners believe James- town could see a population growth of about 7,500 to a total population of nearly 23,000 in 25 years.  They want to hear from residents how to manage and plan for that growth, according to Marty Shukert, principal planner for RDG Planning and Design, the firm preparing the Land Use and Transportation Plan for the community.

The Jamestown population has been steady in the 15,000s since the 1960s. Shukert said currently planned industrial projects could prompt population growth. These projects include the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant, CHS nitrogen fertilizer plant and the eNugget iron smelting plant, which are all in some stage of construction or planning at this time.

Shukert’s data projected three levels of possible growth for consideration:

*A 1 percent population growth for the next 10 years followed by a 0.5 percent population growth per year for the following 15 years would give Jamestown a population of about 17,300 by 2025 and nearly 19,000 by 2040. This is considered a slow rate of growth.

*A moderate growth rate of 1.5 percent for the first 10 years and 0.75 percent for the next 15 years would result in a population of more than 18,500 by 2025 and nearly 21,000 by 2040.

*An aggressive growth rate of 2 percent for 10 years and 1 percent for the next 15 years would result in a population of about 19,000 by 2025 and nearly 23,000 by 2040.

“The conversations with the JSDC (Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.) suggest a population increase of about 3,000 is reasonable in 10 years given the industrial growth,” Shukert said. “For planning purposes, the middle-growth plan feels like the reasonable model.”

Shukert said this would mean Jamestown would have to average about 50 new housing units per year for the next 25 years. Jamestown saw a net increase of 13 housing units or 1.3 per year on average between the years 2000 and 2010.

“This doesn’t mean you would have people living in the street,” he said. “But it is more difficult to attract people if there isn’t adequate housing.”

The additional housing will require additional land to be developed for residential and commercial use. Shukert estimates that about 626 acres of residential development and 118 acres of commercial development will be necessary over the 25-year life of the plan.

Shukert is conducting meetings today and Thursday in Jamestown to get public input as he prepares the LUTP. The workshops run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today at Jamestown City Hall and are intended for the public to talk with the planners. Shukert will make a presentation of the findings of the previous meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Exchequer Room of the Jamestown Civic Center. For those who cannot comment in person, a survey is available at

“This trip begins the real planning,” he said. “We start putting ideas on paper and visualize how the city may look years in the future.”

This month’s meetings, called “studios” by Shukert, looks at the big picture of development in the area.

“We are taking the macro approach to issues at this time,” he said. “We are looking at the overall growth and the amount of land needed for development. Later studios have a greater level of detail.”

Shukert said the LUTP is intended to develop a plan of where this development will occur and the best infrastructure for transportation in Jamestown. He also wants it to be the product of local residents’ input.

“This isn’t a process of a bunch of engineers and planners going off and waving our hands and telling you what you need,” he said. “We want this to be a plan that meets the needs of the public.”

City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said more involvement by the public would help make the plan more valuable as a planning tool.

“I’d love to see the community come out in droves,” he said. “In my mind, for this to be successful, it has to be the city residents’ plan.”

Shukert said future planning studios look at the planning in more detail. If a high degree of interest is shown in a single topic, separate meetings will be held.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at