Urban sprawl becoming an issue in ND

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Urban sprawl is not a new issue, but one expert says it's plaguing North Dakota and the entire country.

Charles Marohn, an expert in urban planning and development, says since World War II America has been built the wrong way.

On the surface, Bismarck looks like a bustling town. But one expert say it's just another example of how America got things wrong.

"Our cities are non-productive assets. They don't create enough private wealth to actually take care of the all the public promises," said Charles Marohn, Strong Towns.

Charles Marohn says following World War II we've been building our cities to fail, and some in North Dakota say he may have a point.

"There's no question what we're doing now as we continue to sprawl out, we just cannot keep up with the costs," said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Rich Wardner.

"We argue about whether taxes should go up or spending should be cut, what we really need to focus on is the productivity. How do we get more value out of the investments that we've made," said Marohn.

You don't think of North Dakota towns when you think of sprawl, even though many are facing the issues that go along with it.

"City commissioners and even county commissioners need to hear what is being said and we need to change our thinking just a bit," said Wardner.

"If you were a struggling company what you would say is how do we with our current assets generate more revenue, cities need to ask the same question," said Marohn.
Wednesday the Interim Tax Commission listened to Marohn's presentation. Wardner says the state may need to seriously consider his ideas during the next legislative session.

Larson said the final construction map should be finished within the next two months.