Trends and alternatives: March 2024

Northfield 2045 is moving swiftly into Phase 3: Trends and alternatives. This phase reviews current conditions for land use, transportation, housing, and economic development and then presents alternative future directions. Now we’re getting to the really fun part of figuring out how to get from where we are now to realize that vision from the previous phase.

Where we are in the process (more than halfway there!):

Northfield 2045 process update

Analysis and recommendations

There are three draft analyses available now: Economic Development, Transportation, and Housing plus a land use and growth analysis; the consultants call this a STEP analysis for future investment. A look back at the Community Profile from the Discovery Phase is a good accompaniment to this exercise.

Let me keep emphasizing these analyses (and the vision, etc.) are all works in progress until the plan is adopted. Each one is being reviewed by City staff, discussed by the Planning Commission and Steering Committee, and then revised by the consultants (perhaps with multiple iterations). Your comments are welcome, too – post them below (or use the contact page to send a non-public comment).

Transformation!

Enhance areas “are places that need minor improvement, with interventions dependent on the land use and neighborhood context.” This might include street improvements like traffic calming or bike and pedestrian facilities, park development, and small-scale infill to add additional housing types.

Preserve places “represent green spaces and historic places that are important in defining the city’s character and quality. Change should be carefully managed to enhance the setting and protect the environmental quality of these areas.” The historic downtown, college campuses, and open spaces are all places to preserve.

Add to this, there’s also a map showing where Northfield could grow at its edges (from Rice County urban expansion planning) and locations for possible more intensive development such as neighborhood serving commercial nodes where the orange dots are.

Trends and alternatives process and documents

There are three draft analyses available now: Economic Development, Transportation, and Housing plus a land use and growth analysis; the consultants call this a STEP analysis for future investment. A look back at the Community Profile from the Discovery Phase is a good accompaniment to this exercise.

Planning commission updates and presentations: The April Planning Commission meeting included this presentation recapping some vision and values information and introducing the STEP analysis. Plus, the monthly update from the consultants with additional information.

And podcast: I give another update about this part of the process on KYMN April 22, 2024


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