New Comprehensive Plan is almost here!

The new Comprehensive Plan is almost here and I’m thrilled. 

Back in 2004 when I chaired the Planning Commission, I wrote this about the 2001 Comprehensive Plan.

Northfield, meet your Comprehensive Plan.

Hello, nice to meet you. Tell me about yourself Comp Plan…and what is it you do again…..?

Hi Northfield, I set goals for your growth and recommend steps to reach those goals: Basically, I help answer the questions: Where do you want to go and how will you get there?

After this, your conversation with Northfield’s Comp Plan will be rather like getting stuck talking to some boor at a party. You know the one, the guy who starts rambling on through a lot of long-winded and poorly thought-out ideas. He might have said some really interesting and useful things, but delivered them with so much hot air that you started looking around for someone to save you from this conversation so you can talk to someone who will just get to the point. Simply put, despite containing nuggets of good planning, it shows no clear vision of where Northfield wants to go nor how it will get there. I hope the Planning Commission and the community will focus this plan and make it a genuinely useful guide to Northfield’s future.

Dreams do come true. Since the end of 2006, the Planning Commission and City staff (with ACP consultants) have worked long and hard; other Boards and Commissions and many of you also contributed to the process in public meetings.

Now Northfield has a hugely improved Plan waiting to be adopted and, even better, the land development regulations are being revised right now to put some teeth in the Comp Plan.

You have 2 more chances to say something before the Council acts to adopt the Comp Plan:

First, there is an Open House Tuesday, September 23 at the Armory. After that, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on September 30 before making a formal recommendation to the Council.

I think we’ve really sharpened the tools in our development toolbox and now we need to use them to steer Northfield’s investments and development.

Time to get busy

Now that the primary election is over and the mayoral and other Council races have been narrowed to the two candidates who will face off in the general election, it’s time to get busy here in the 2nd Ward.

I haven’t been just sitting around during August and September, though.  I’ve been spending the time doing my homework about city issues, talking to people informally about their concerns, plus printing campaign literature, and getting organized.  Look for my lawn signs, attend candidate forums, read more information here, and VOTE on November 4.

Why I’m running

I’ve been watching and working with the City Council since 2001 when I was appointed to the Planning Commission; now I want to be part of the policy-making team rather than a member of an advisory board.

Northfield has invested time and money in planning for the future; we need to carry out these plans.  I’ve been involved with the drafting of both the Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Plan which the City Council should adopt very soon.  Northfield should also adopt a new Park, Trail and Open Space Plan in the near future.  These plans provide guidance for sustaining the historic downtown, improving our transportation network, and conserving natural resources.

Northfield, like most cities, faces financial challenges, but I believe we can find strategic ways to prioritize our facilities needs such as improving the Safety Center or expanding the Library, systematically address on-going needs such as street repair and park development, and maximize resources by partnering with colleges, business and surrounding towns and townships.

If elected to the City Council to represent Ward 2, I will give Ward 2 residents a strong voice and help develop the smart strategies Northfield needs to meet challenges and sustain its sense of place.

I’m currently a member of the Charter Commission and have also served on the Planning Commission, Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force, and Library Board.  I’ve been a Humphrey Institute Public Policy Fellow and part of the Blandin Community Leadership Program.  I’ve got the experience and vision to help Northfield grow smart.