October has been designated National Community Planning Month by the American Planning Association as a way to highlight the role of planners and planning in our community.
This year's theme, "Community Sustainability," focuses on how planners are working to make our communities healthier and more sustainable for current and future generations.
The month-long celebration is an opportunity to recognize how planning shapes Brainerd, City Planner Mark Ostgarden said in a news release, and the work of planners and the planning profession in creating communities of lasting value.
"Why is good planning important? Good planning gives residents options - from transportation choices, where to live, to the type of home to live in, and where to shop," Ostgarden said. "Many residents do not realize just how much their daily life is influenced by planning."
Ostgarden said planning is the process of envisioning, mapping, or otherwise conceiving how a community will look, grow, and define itself - its characteristics, attributes, and identity. As communities continue to change and grow, Ostgarden said planners play an important role in ensuring that new developments are designed and built in harmony with existing surroundings. He added planners must carefully balance the needs and desires of residents against the challenges presented by growth and change not just in the physical realm, but also economically and socially.
The Brainerd Planning Commission, appointed by the city council, considers planning matters including land use proposals and adopting or amending the Comprehensive Plan. It recommends action to the city council on subdivisions, conditional use permits, and variances. The commission is beginning a three month public awareness program to make the community aware of the proposed changes to the city's zoning map and how to comment on those changes. A public hearing on the proposed map is planned for January 2011.
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