Brandon Bochenski is going back to Kazakhstan for another year of professional hockey, but he reassures his neighbors he's still buying the 19 acres of land by King's Walk Golf Course, as he said he would in May to avoid having an apartment complex go up near his neighborhood.
It's only taking so long because of the zoning process, Bochenski said-a year and a half from now, he hopes to sell the property as individual lots for single family homes, he said, "hopefully bringing more affordable properties to people in town."
"They're in the process of finishing the zoning," Bochenski said. City Planning and Zoning Director Brad Gengler said the current property owners have to get approval from his committee during its meeting next Wednesday, and approval from the City Council July 16 before they can sell.
"It's more of a ... just a process deal," Bochenski said, adding at this point he sees no reason why the deal won't work out. "It should've been done a month and a half ago."
Bochenski said he came back to Grand Forks from Kazakhstan to settle in with his family. He was a UND hockey player from 2001 to 2004 before he turned pro. His team in Kazakhstan has been talking to him since early this year about returning, he said. "They had a rough year, and I just decided I could help them."
Nathan Laframboise, a neighbor two lots down from the Bochenski family, bought his property with plans to build a house right before getting a letter about plans to build the apartment complex. Laframboise said he was "blindsided."
"Had it gone through, honestly I don't know what I would've done. ... I feel safe in saying that I would've lost a considerable amount of money if that apartment had gone up."
Laframboise isn't too far behind in his own construction plans-he said when his family bought the property, they wanted to break ground by spring.
"When he (Bochenski) let us know we didn't need to go to the meetings any more, I talked to the contractor I had lined up and gave him the go-ahead."
Though he'll be abroad, Bochenski said he's confident the purchase will work out. He said he's already received interest from people who want in on the single-family homes. "That just makes me feel like that was the right decision," he said.