Open house Monday, Nov. 29 at Franklin Twp. hall
By Ryan Gueningsman
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN Planning remains underway for the Highway 12 corridor land use plan, and Franklin Township officials remain diligent that their existing land use plan remains in place.
Scott Deckert of Wright County Planning and Zoning was present at the township’s meeting Nov. 4, and presented the board with the proposed draft land use plan. The plan had not yet been seen by the public.
The draft is based upon joint meetings, township feedback, and open houses, according to the draft minutes from the township board meeting.
It was noted the county has stayed with the “we like things as they are” concept the township has stated. The resource lands and added transition areas are the biggest changes.
Township Supervisor Bill McMullen questioned some of the resource lands, and Township Supervisor Mike Barfknecht felt there is a lot of good, high land within the resource section.
Deckert said it was debated, and said the main reason the land was identified was due to the discussion of a park. Township Chairman John Czanstkowski Sr. asked how this would affect landowner taxes, and Deckert said taxes would stay the same.
He added that, basically, everything within the township has stayed the same. The map the board now has will be the draft map for the meetings.
An open house has been set up for Monday, Nov. 29 at the Franklin Township Hall to further review the drafts and receive input from the public. The open house will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The “US12 Corridor” includes the townships of Franklin, Cokato, Marysville, Middleville, Stockholm, Victor and Woodland, as well as the cities of Delano, Cokato, Howard Lake, Montrose and Waverly.
The Wright County Office of Planning and Zoning (P&Z) will sponsor four open house meetings to introduce work completed to date on the new land use plan for Wright County.
The Wright County Board adopted the northeast quadrant land use plan July 31, 2007, followed by adoption of the northwest quadrant plan Sept. 1, 2009.
The US12 Corridor plan is the final phase of a multi-year project to update and renew land use planning efforts for the county, according to Wright County Planning and Zoning Administrator Tom Salkowski.
There were “kickoff” open houses for this US12 Corridor Plan in April of this year, at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School and the Montrose Community Center.
“Conversations with attendees were very useful and informative, and such review and feedback is always very helpful to staff in the development of the plan,” Salkowski said.
Technical work on the plan, which includes updating and supplementing environmental, housing, population, transportation, and other relevant background, has been completed by the county planning and zoning staff.
This work and draft ideas for any changes in existing plans have been reviewed with each township board at least twice since April.
In addition, officials from each city in the corridor have met with township officers and county staff to review city growth plans and seek agreement on a county plan for areas in townships that are close to future city growth, according to Salkowski.
The county planning commission has been updated regularly and has also guided staff on the formulation of this draft US12 Corridor land use plan.
“Ultimately, the county planning commission will hold a formal public hearing on the plan and recommend final action to the county board of commissioners,” Salkowski said.
Any written comments received at these open houses will be submitted into the record of the planning commission for consideration at the official public hearing, and will not have to be repeated.
The county board of commissioners is the final authority to adopt the proposed plan.
“Wright County policy is to promote agriculture and to prevent the suburbanization of rural areas in townships, and also to advocate healthy growth of the existing cities,” Salkowski said.
As a result, there are two primary areas of change in the draft plan, he added.
New “transition areas” are proposed around the cities to prepare for short-and long-term future growth. These are based on existing agreements between cities and townships and consideration of new and more conservative growth projections.
The other new feature is a wide variety of “resource lands,” which will be a primary focus of these open house meetings.
Landowners who may be included in any new “resource land” areas will also get a direct notice of these meetings.
“The resource lands are a response by the county to the widely held opinion that natural resource areas and wildlife habitat are very important, along with agriculture, to the rural area of Wright County,” Salkowski said.
Opening at 7:15 p.m., there will be some time to review maps and data and scan a summary of the plan, followed by a presentation at 7:45 p.m.
After the formal presentation, there will be further opportunity to provide written comment or discuss the draft plan individually with county planning commission members or county staff.
To save expense, full copies will not be distributed, but will be available on the county website at www.co.wright.mn.us.
In addition to the open house at the Franklin Township Hall, additional open houses will take place Tuesday, Nov. 30 at the Woodland Township Hall for Victor and Woodland township residents; Monday, Dec. 6 at the Marysville Township Hall for Marysville and Middleville township residents; and Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the Cokato Township Hall for Cokato and Stockholm township residents.
If unable to attend a meeting, visit http://www.co.wright.mn.us/department/pandz/lupushwy12.asp.
The website includes summaries, maps, data and a complete copy of the proposed plan. There is also a link to submit comments or questions at the website.