P & Z staff currently seeking input from landowners
By Kristen Miller
STOCKHOLM, COKATO TOWNSHIPS, CITY OF COKATO, MN Inquisitive landowners gathered Tuesday night to learn more about what Wright County Planning and Zoning calls the US Highway 12 Corridor Land Use Plan.
The open house, which took place at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, was for residents in Cokato, Stockholm, Middleville, Woodland, and Franklin townships and the cities of Cokato and Howard Lake. It was noted that prior to the open houses, the county met with each of the townships.
“We are here to visit and learn from you,” said Tom Salkowski, planning and zoning administrator, during a presentation.
This open house was merely the beginning stages for creating and adopting an updated land use plan the current plan was adopted in 1988 for this part of the county.
The land use plan is about “deciding what’s important and setting goals,” Salkowski said.
In 2007, the county adopted the land use plan for the northeast section of the county, and the northwest in September 2009.
Salkowski talked about stewardship and “passing on a world that is better than we found it.”
Though this can mean different things to different people, some might include preserving rural areas, natural resources, farm land, water, open space, and outdoor recreation.
One reason Salkowski gave for such planning is that “uncontrolled growth can hinder natural resources” and other areas deemed worthy of preserving.
“The county believes most of the development should be done in the cities,” Salkowski said, explaining that townships should not provide “suburban services.”
He also said the county believes that cities have an “obligation to grow responsibly” and that “property rights are important.”
Because the county believes that “all levels of government have an obligation to work together” representatives of each governmental entity will serve on a planning committee for the transition areas. Other committees may be formed with citizens and other local agencies.
Salkowski gave examples of three types of areas that have been added to the land use plan in the other two sections of the county. They are resource land for conservation practices, aggregate for gravel mining, and transition areas, mainly around cities, for future city growth.
It was noted that these may or may not have an effect on this particular land use plan.
Transition areas have been the most controversial, and it is difficult getting the townships and cities to agree on what is appropriate, according to Salkowski.
“The most controversial is what happens at the edge of town,” Salkowski said.
The county is asking landowners to share their thoughts and what’s important to them with the planning and zoning team.
“We want to know where you want to see change, or stay the same,” Salkowski said.
The planning and zoning committee will then prepare a plan based on the input it receives. The plan will be presented at similar open house events before the county has a public hearing.
The entire process will likely take about a year before the county adopts a final plan, according to Stacy Marquardt, assistant planner.
“There is a lot of [work] to be done between now and then,” she said.
Members of the planning and zoning staff are Scott Deckert, Tracy (Diers) Janikula, Stacy Marquardt, Barry Rhineberger, and Salkowski.
For more information and to see additional maps, visit the planning and zoning web site at: http://www.co.wright.mn.us/department/pandz.
Residents can provide input on that site or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (763) 682-7338.