Posts tagged ‘comprehensive plan’

Introducing The Northwest Regional Development Commission


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For quite a while now, we have discussed the ills of regional planning as implemented by the Metropolitan Council. They issue faulty population projections, force light rail and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on communities, and require one-size-fits-all comprehensive plans from Cities, under threat of discipline. Is the Met Council alone in their actions? Are there other regional planning groups in Minnesota that do the same type of work? Let’s explore… introducing the Northwest Regional Development Commission.

The commission was created in 1973 by local government units under the authorization of the Regional Development Act of 1969 . Like the Met Council, it is an unelected body with levy power to collect property taxes. It includes the counties of Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. It stretches all the way from the Northwest corner of the state, westward to the west shore of Lake of the Woods at Roseau, and southward to Perley. The commission has 35 representatives (Counties, Cities, Townships, School Districts, and special interest groups). These members set policy and direction for the commission. Monthly business is handled by an appointed board of directors (one member from each county and an at-large Chairperson).

What kinds of business does this group handle? Are they really some shadow government group that meets in a smoky back room to control an entire region of Minnesota? Well… no, not really. They do it right out in the open. They tackle aging, arts, economic development, emergency operations planning, business loans, community development, and transportation planning. Why we need a regional planning commission to tackle these issues in a part of the state that is so spread out, I’ll never know.

Let’s take a look at their community development program. They offer a number of services, including tourism promotion, GIS mapping for recreation promotion, art and culture promotion, grant writing, comprehensive planning, zoning and mapping for local government, disaster mitigation and recovery, regional planning and project management, and housing. There are five housing subgroups that deal with affordable housing (Inter-County Community Council, Northwest Community Action Agency, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and Northwest Regional Development Commission).

Transportation planning includes highway corridor studies, rail planning, port of entry issues, aeronautics planning, transit planning, scenic byways, regional road prioritizations, trails, and enhancements. The Commission handles transportation planning for Areawide Transportation Partnership (ATP) 2. They meet annually to develop and review a three-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

As you can see, there are many of the same facets to this regional planning body as to the Met Council: affordable housing, comprehensive planning, and transit. Now, does the NWRDC have the same iron-fist policy as the Met Council? How autonomous are the cities in this region? Those are questions that we’ll only begin to learn the answers to as we begin to review the comprehensive plans of the cities in that area. So stay tuned as we begin to uncover some of these hidden layers of government.

 

 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

February 21, 2017 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Dropping by the Up and At ‘Em Show


Up and at Em logo

Jason and Andrew dropped by the Up and at ‘Em Show to talk to Jack and Ben. Talk quickly turned to comprehensive plans and city ordinances. We then sat in for the News Bag and a great conversation with Senator Dan Hall. Listen here: Up and at ‘Em podcast.

February 4, 2017 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

It’s Comprehensive Plan Time Again


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by Jason Bradley

Well, if you’ve been hanging around us for any length of time at all, you know that we are a little critical of the procedure for creating and approving comprehensive plans in metropolitan Minnesota. I probably haven’t given my full viewpoint enough publicity, but believe it or not, I’m not against comprehensive plans in theory. I am a planner. I believe that without a well-formulated plan, you have no idea where you are going. If you have no idea where you are headed, you will end up somewhere you don’t want to be. A detailed comprehensive plan can define and preserve the character of your community. It can help your city to run smoothly and prepare for emergencies.

That’s not what we’re talking about here. In the metro area, the Metropolitan Council creates a massive regional planning document that includes land use, housing, transportation, water, and parks. The latest Met Council concoction of faulty forecasting and trendy buzzwords has been dubbed “Thrive MSP 2040”. It boasts “One Vision, One Metropolitan Region”. Sounds warm and cozy, doesn’t it? All of the aspects of the plan must reflect the five outcomes: Stewardship, Prosperity, Equity, Livability, and Sustainability. We will get into more of the details of this plan in future blogs. Today, however, I just want you to understand that it exists. It exists, and drives all of the decisions made in your community.

The Met Council has the authority to force Cities to write and submit a new comprehensive plan every ten years. The city must write its comp plan in conjunction with the standards outlined in the regional plan. If it does not, the Met Council can ask them to go back to the drawing board and resubmit. The Met Council can continue to do this as it sees fit, impose fines, or exact other heavy-handed measures. The ability of a City to actually do what is in their best interest has been greatly limited.

So no matter if you live in Minneapolis, Minnetonka, or Marine on St. Croix, your city is slotted for increased rental units (including affordable housing), transit accessibility, an interconnected park system, mixed use development, reduced lot sizes of new developments, and other regional planning darlings to fit their consistently poor population forecasts, no matter if it fits into the character of your city or not.

So, what can we do? Ideally, a wave of Thrive MSP 2040 opponents would have been elected to city councils back in November. I’m not certain that happened. These comp plans will be written this year, and completed in 2018. Some elections will happen this year, so get on that, you cities that have odd year elections! In every city, we need to fill every open seat on every planning commission. All anyone (and I mean anyone can do this) needs to do is to go down to city hall and fill out an application. You go interview in front of the council, and they pick the best one (don’t say anything too crazy).  The planning commission advises the city council on the comp plan. That’s why it is important to get those spots. A single city has little hope of standing up to the Met Council, but a group of them standing together has a much better chance.

So, there you go. It may not be an election year for most of us, but there is still something worthy to fight for. Let us know how we can help you.

 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

February 2, 2017 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

Community Solutions MN Guest Hosts On 1280am The Patriot


by Jason Bradley

Jason and Andrew at the Patriot

Last Sunday 12/28/14, Andrew and I got to fill in for Brad Carlson on his show on 1280am, The Patriot. We brought our usual brand of humor and education to the show, talking comprehensive plans in hour one, and interviewing mayors Jim Adams (Crystal) and Mark Korin (Oak Grove) in hour two. (I also got to choose a lot of the bumper music, so you have me to blame for that.) I hope you enjoy the show!

Listen here:

https://soundcloud.com/northern-alliance-radio-2 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

December 31, 2014 at 10:34 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions Radio Podcast Ep 5


Here is the latest installment of the Community Solutions Radio Podcast, Episode 5. Here we discuss the upcoming Local Candidate training, and get into a spirited discussion that spirals out from “human-scale development”. Make sure to sign up today on our Candidate Training page above!

May 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions Radio Podcast Episode 1


by Jason Bradley

So, Andrew and I decided that we wanted to be able to take more time and really explain what is happening around us. The blog and Andrew’s TV show are great places to do that, but are somewhat limited. That’s when I suggested we start podcasting. It’s the two of us with no limits, no filter, and nothing but the great information you are used to receiving from us. So, sit back take a listen, and pick it up later if you run out of time! In this episode we tackle why local politics are important, budgets, comprehensive plans, policing for revenue, and so much more. Thanks for listening!

November 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment


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