Williston downtown review board

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WILLISTON, N.D. - Last November, Williston's City Commission unanimously approved the creation of a downtown review board.

Having a vibrant downtown is vital.

"Well the design of buildings can make a huge difference in the way a downtown feels. There's been a lot of work put into the physical landscape of downtown. People are utilizing downtown, they're coming downtown to hang out for Summer Nights on Main, and maintaining the older buildings we have is really important," said Rachel Laqua, principle planner.

The new Downtown review board features a diverse group with varying backgrounds.

"This board is actually made up of mostly downtown stakeholders, so whether they're business owners, property owners, contractors, builders, those are the people that we have in the group on this board to help make those decisions," said David Tuan, Williston City Administrator.

So what will the board actually do?

"Let's say they want to change the entire face of the building, use different surface materials or change the color, things like that. The Review Board will convene and review their proposal, and according to a set of guidelines that's been jointly developed in the Downtown Plan, will evaluate whether the proposed construction fits within the guidelines for building," said Tuan.

But smaller projects won't have to go through the full process.

"The one's that are under $10,000 don't necessarily have to go to the board, they have to be approved by two staff members, because that can be something as simple as switching out the style of lights that you have, we want that to be super simple and easy," said Laqua.

And the intent is that the board helps improve downtown while maintaining its character.

"By having this committee help guide the development and building specifications, we can ensure the downtown has a neat and clean look, that it all matches together, and that it has a cohesive path forward as it grows and develops." said Tuan.

The review board will only review renovations to the exteriors of buildings.

Tuan says there haven't been any projects brought to the review board yet.