A kickoff workshop for the joint planning effort for a comprehensive plan for the Highway 371 corridor in Crow Wing and Cass counties is set Feb. 29 at the Norm Hunt Memorial Building on the Hunt Technologies campus located on County Road 11 between Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point.
Development of the Highway 371 plan will occur in phases -- background research, analysis and mapping. The process includes an analysis of the county's existing land uses and growth trends, public facilities, transportation system, demographic trends and projections, economic conditions, environmental features and housing.
Issues facing the county will also be identified through public input. A series of four workshops will be conducted during the summer to facilitate participation by area residents and other stakeholders in identifying comprehensive plan issues.
-- Inform residents about the planning process, timing and purpose of the comprehensive plan.
-- Generate views on issues, problems and opportunities in the county.
-- Assist participants in identifying their vision for the future.
Information on meeting dates and locations should be available in early April.
Phase two of the planning process will focus on development of goals and policies that will guide the counties future planning activities. Practical alternative strategies for implementing goals will also be prepared. Goals, policies and alternatives will be reviewed and refined before the planning document is prepared in phase three, where growth boundaries for urban areas will be established.
Phase four will be the public review and approval process. The final plan is expected to be adopted by the county boards in December 2000.
Although the counties are guided by plans that were prepared five to 10 years ago, numerous land use issues have emerged that the current plans do not adequately address.
The counties recently received a $77,000 grant from Minnesota Planning, the state's long-range planning agency, to create the comprehensive plans. Funds were appropriated by the state Legislature through the Community-Based Planning Act. In order to help facilitate the extensive public participation process, the counties have hired a consulting team to prepare the plan.
In 1997, the Legislature passed the Community-Based Planning Act in response to the state's rapid growth, loss of agricultural land and other land use challenges. The act establishes a statewide planning framework outlining 11 goals and emphasizes strong public participation and intergovernmental communication and cooperation in the planning process.
Goals of community-based planning are citizen participation, cooperation, economic development, conservation, livable community design, housing, transportation, land-use planning, public investments, public education, and sustainable development.
Once a community accepts a grant, it must then follow the statewide framework. For more information, contact the Cass County Environmental Services Department at (218) 547-3300, or Jay Blake of Dahlgren Shardlow and Uban Consulting Planner at (320) 251-3150.
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