By Marisa Helms
Note: This is a sidebar to the feature article, Rebuilding Minnesota's Recovery.
As the state’s economy continues to recover from the recession, it may be a good idea for cities to revisit their comprehensive plans and ordinances to make sure those documents are realistic, says Jed Burkett, land use/loss control attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.
“A comprehensive plan is a foundational document that sets forth a vision and the goals for the future of the city,” says Burkett. “The purpose is to guide future development of land to ensure a safe, pleasant, and economical environment for residential, commercial, industrial, and public activities.”
A lot has changed in the past few years, and comprehensive plans adopted before the downturn may need to be revised to ensure that a city is well positioned to take advantage of the emerging recovery. Revising a comprehensive plan depends on proactive planning and asking some good questions about the identity of a city and how it wants to grow, Burkett says. Perhaps your city wants to rezone an industrial park that may now be better suited for senior housing, or maybe areas once identified for commercial and high-density housing aren’t viable anymore.
Other factors to consider when revising a comprehensive plan include:
Once a comprehensive plan is adopted, keep it handy. The best comprehensive plans are dynamic and consulted daily. You’ll want to review it regularly to make sure it’s consistent with current policies and procedures, and make updates as needed, Burkett recommends. If done right and taken seriously, an up-to-date comprehensive plan can be extremely helpful, if not vital, to shaping the harmony and success of a community.
Questions? Contact Jed Burkett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marisa Helms is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis.
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