By Ivan Raconteur
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN The Wright County Office of Planning and Zoning will host two public open house meetings to kick off work on a comprehensive plan update for the Highway 12 corridor.
All are welcome to either of these open houses, but each will emphasize the townships and cities at the various open houses in accord with this schedule:
• Tuesday, April 27, at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School commons area. (For Cokato, Stockholm, Middleville, and Victor townships and the cities of Cokato and Howard Lake).
• Thursday, April 29, at the Montrose Community Center (For Marysville, Woodland, and Franklin townships and the cities of Waverly, Montrose, and Delano).
All open houses will be conducted from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a presentation at 7:15 p.m.
Anyone who cannot attend any of the open houses, or just wants to follow progress on the plan in the future, can visit the web site at: http://www.co.wright.mn.us/department/pandz. The web site includes a more thorough review and copy of the adopted Northeast and Northwest Quadrant Plans, and a fledgling site for the Highway 12 corridor.
Any future committee meetings, summaries, data and public meetings will be posted on the web site.
The corridor area includes the townships of Cokato, Middleville, Marysville, Stockholm, Victor, Woodland, and Franklin, as well as the cities of Cokato, Howard Lake, Waverly, Montrose, and Delano.
The Wright County Board of Commissioners adopted the Northwest Quadrant Land Use Plan Sept. 1, 2009, as phase two of a multi-year project to update and renew land use planning efforts by Wright County.
The Northwest Quadrant included the townships of Clearwater, Silver Creek, Southside, Corinna, Maple Lake, French Lake, Albion and Chatham, and the Cities of Clearwater, Maple Lake, Annandale, and South Haven.
The Northeast Quadrant Land Use Plan, for the townships of Monticello, Buffalo and Rockford, and the Cities of Monticello, Buffalo, Otsego, Albertville, St. Michael, Hanover and Rockford, was adopted by the county board July 31, 2007.
Preliminary work has begun on the Highway 12 corridor plan, the third and final phase of the planning update, by staff of the office of planning and zoning with assistance from the consulting firm of Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH).
The primary purpose of these open houses will be to review the existing plans and share the preliminary findings and background data on soils, natural resources, gravel mining, parks, agriculture and recreation, past and current planning efforts and other important factors impacting the lives and aspirations of the people who live and work in southern Wright County.
There will be a brief review of the work completed in the other areas of the county. No new plans are proposed at this time.
County staff will display various maps and data regarding the natural and man-made features of this area, and staff from the county planning office, SEH, and other agencies including the Wright Soil and Water Conservation Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be available to answer questions and record concerns.
A brief and informal survey of those who attend may also be completed.
Working maps will be available to give everyone a chance to identify areas of special concern in the Highway 12 corridor area.
There is an emphasis on agricultural planning and natural resource conservation issues. County staff is interested in finding those areas that local residents believe are the hidden treasures of the southern part of the county, due to their special beauty, natural features, ecological value, importance to wildlife and/or other resource and agricultural concerns.
County staff will record any concerns about planning, land development, and the future that residents have.
There will be presentation near the beginning of the open house and then time to visit with county staff and other agency representatives to answer any questions or concerns people may have, along with an opportunity for residents to learn more about their neighborhoods.
This is the beginning of a planning process, which the county hopes to complete by the end of 2010. Staff will also be meeting with township and city representatives to develop growth plans for those lands directly impacted by future projected city growth.
The Wright County Planning Commission will guide the work of county staff on this plan, other advisory committees may be formed as necessary, and there will be more public meetings before any plan is adopted.
Ultimately, the county planning commission will have a public hearing on the plan when completed, and recommend final action to the county board of commissioners. The county board has the final authority to act on the proposed plan.