Discovery: June-December 2023. Complete!

Here’s what happened:

Review of Northfield’s existing plans and policies to understand Northfield’s policy direction including previous comp plans (you can read the 2008 Comp Plan review summary of that kind of work here).

Updating demographic data from the Census (for example) and other sources. The result is a Community Profile describing Northfield today and how it has changed over time. For a more visual survey, click the image below for a look at that profile via this story map:

Public engagement: The other crucial aspect of this phase is learning what community members and visitors think about Northfield, both now and what they’d like to see in the future. In the past, public engagement for the Comprehensive Plan has been a few large evening events and a few stories in the newspaper or on KYMN. Past strategy meant we only heard from a limited range of voices, usually the folks who are already engaged, have the time and transportation to attend a meeting, and a disproportionate number older homeowners.

This time, the Planning Commission and staff have stressed gathering many more voices. As a result, the consultants have been going to where people are rather than expecting them to come to City Hall, translating all materials into Spanish, and focusing resources on folks we haven’t heard from in the past. Public engagement will continue throughout the process.

Initial engagement at summer pop up events at Third Thursday gatherings, the dog swim, Hispanic Heritage festival (and more) followed the usual dotmocracy model gave people a “gem” sticker to put on a map showing a special Northfield place and a dollar sign sicker for places needing additional investment.

There was also a survey (now closed) asking these questions and also more about where people lived, their neighborhoods, jobs, transportation and more (Here’s my transcription of the questions). Click here to see the results of the survey plus a summary of engagement as of November.

The official kickoff was held October 28, 2023 at Greenvale Park School (again, trying to move beyond the east side of Northfield). After sharing a meal, participants worked in small groups on questions like this:

The Discovery phase has finished up by naming a Steering Committee in November. This group will advise the consultants several times over the course of the planning process and serve as a sounding board as the plan is developed; Steering Committee meetings are supposed to be noticed as public meetings (so you can come!).

Timeline from the StoryMap

Discovery documents.

These documents are available as attachments to Council or Planning Commission agendas gathered here for one-stop shopping.

Initial documents: Northfield Comprehensive Plan Request for Qualifications: The City’s request for consultants to pitch for the Comprehensive Plan. Stantec’s Proposal was the winning pitch; here’s the contract with the City for the work.

Engagement: Here is the initial public engagement plan, a November update on engagement planning and project scope and the November report on engagement so far. Informing both engagement and the plan itself is the Equity Policy Framework Methodology. Questions used at the October 28 Kickoff and other engagement look like this.

Progress reports: January 2024 update on progress to date.

Steering Committee: The Steering Committee held its first meeting on December 18, 2023. Here are the agenda, packet, presentation, and notes from the meeting.

Big documents: The Community Profile is the document which includes the results of the review of current plans and updated demographics. The StoryMap is a more graphics-driven presentation of a selection of the Profile information.


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