A Random List of Things I Learned Reading 2040 Comp Plans

2040 Comp PlansThere have been many posts here and elsewhere about the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. If you are a regular reader of streets.mn, you are totally aware of the comp plan. If you only drive through south Minneapolis (not live there) you have also probably seen yard signs.

But I am not here to talk about Minneapolis. Minnesota Statute requires that cities within the seven-county Metropolitan Area update their comprehensive plans every ten years. That’s everyone!

So I wandered around and skimmed some Comprehensive Plans that do not belong to either Minneapolis or St. Paul. Much like reading the comments, I’m going to just share some of the tidbits on housing I pulled out of them, since housing seems to be the flashpoint in most of the Minneapolis discussion.

Anoka County:

  • TIL: Blaine has the highest concentration of manufactured housing parks in the state. Only 1% of all homes metro-wide are mobile homes, but 7.6% of homes in Blaine are in one of Blaine’s five manufactured home parks. This is not the view of Blaine most people outside Blaine have. Blaine’s big new thing in the 2040 plan is that maybe apartments are okay? They just allowed a “normal” (non-senior) building to be built, and the world didn’t end, so they are now inching forward with the idea that additional multi-family that aren’t townhomes and that may be rentals may be okay. This is showing up in Land Use instead of Housing. (Blaine 2040 Plan)
  • I came away from the Coon Rapids comp plan thinking their plan is “build more senior apartments so seniors move out of SFHs and let other people move into them,” which seems awfully optimistic on shift. To be fair, Coon Rapids is considered developed and mostly needs to redevelop a few corridors that are not really vacant, merely poorly used. (Coon Rapids 2040 Plan)
  • I couldn’t even find a 2040 plan for Ham Lake, so I do not know if they have a solution for the lack of smoked pork product in its key body of water. I’m betting no? Maybe they’re not a city.
  • Meanwhile, Anoka has stuff about their plan development meetings in 2017 on the site, but no actual plan I can find.

Ramsey County:

  • Shoreview goes a drastically different direction than Coon Rapids and talks a lot about “aging in place.” A lot in their Housing section is really about the issues this creates – social services, upkeep of aging housing stock, if aging townhomes have sufficient HOA reserves to do upkeep, and the inevitable issues when upkeep meets fixed incomes. Shoreview’s plan also says outright that there is low turnover in Shoreview, and Shoreview renters rarely stay when they buy a home because they can’t find one. They have aging housing and an aging population and limited land to do much development. In summary, they are aging in place. (Shoreview 2040 Plan)
  • Roseville also spends a bunch of time on its aging housing stock – 83% of owner-occupied housing and 74% of rentals were constructed between the 1940s and 1970s. Roseville residents are worried about seniors, attracting millennials, apartment infill, and the “proliferation of rentals.” The plan seems to be in favor of transit-oriented density, alternative housing (ADUs!) and infill. (Roseville 2040 Plan)
  • Oh, Arden Hills. The hearings over the Twin Cities Amy Ammunition Plan were fairly comic in ways people in St. Paul might recognize relative to the Ford Plant – once the Vikings and Minnesota United stadia were not things, the amount of “why can’t it be a park” was epic. Arden Hills 2040 has an entire chapter devoted to the Plan area, because it is a huge chunk of land. The 2040 Plan suggests real construction should start in 2020 and take… well, until 2040. Other than that hunk, it’s another “aging population, aging housing” situation. (Arden Hills 2040 Plan)

Hennepin County:

  • Brooklyn Center has a separate site for their plan work. Allegedly, a survey will be online no later than June 29. There is no survey. There is a background document from January. So. (Brooklyn Center 2040)
  • Edina offers us lots of checkpoint work, but no big draft. (Edina Comprehensive Plan)
  • Bloomington has a May 2018 draft! Bloomington’s recent development has been multi-family, and they believe this trend will continue. Almost all of their multi-family built in the last 15 years has been on formerly commercial land that has been rezoned.Like many other suburbs, they are looking at maintenance horizons on existing SFHs and multi-family and wincing a little bit, as a lot of it is starting to age. The population is also aging, so social services and support for their housing is also a concern. (Bloomington 2040 Plan)

Washington County:

  • In Woodbury, the task force to write the 2040 plan still seems to be meeting. No draft on the web site, but “A draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan will likely be adopted by the City Council in 2018.” Likely? (Woodbury 2040 Comp Plan)
  • Lake Elmo’s is interesting, because it’s really about two towns when you read it – the rural part, and the part they’re allowing to develop. There’s an entire section on how many people in Lake Elmo are “unsewered,” a number that will grow by 2040. Gist of everything is that the rural section is going to stay rural, and they’re going to try to find a way to put all the new housing near the strip mall near I-94. (Lake Elmo 2040)
  • Stillwater promises we’ll have a plan by year-end. (Stillwater 2040 Comp Plan)

Dakota County:

  • Eagan released their draft chapters in May for 6 months of review. Eagan figures 60% of housing growth to come via developing “special areas,” because most of Eagan’s low density residential area has characteristics that make it more difficult and expensive to develop (odd shaped parcels, steep terrain, wetlands). Like other suburbs, Eagan is concerned about the number of properties that are 30 years or older, which is a magic number for maintenance cost. (Eagan 2040 Comp Plan)
  • Apple Valley has a jaunty little logo for their plan process. They intend to protect their two manufactured home communities from redevelopment pressure; Apple Valley feel they can accommodate forecasted housing growth needs through infill and redevelopment, and the limited land available isn’t a limiter. They’re only looking at another 3,000 units in 20 years based on projections and existing housing, and recent developments have averaged 40 units per acre, well above Met Council targets. (Apple Valley 2040)
  • Rosemount don’t seem to have a draft live, but they are having lots of meetings and comment opportunities for those who live in/near Rosemount. (Rosemount 2040)

I didn’t look at Carver or Scott counties, simply because I didn’t bother. You’re welcome to go dive in, though.

What’s my point here? My point is that even if you don’t live in Minneapolis, your community probably has a comprehensive plan! The issues each community faces depends on the kind of population and available land it has.

What should you do?

  • Look at your community’s plan and/or plan process. Not sure they have one? They’re supposed to. Google “[your city] comprehensive plan 2040.” You can also look for their 2030 plan, which is the current plan.
  • Read it. Maybe you’ll learn something, like how I learned Blaine has the most manufactured homes in the metro?
  • Talk to your city councilperson or other municipal authority about anything you might care about in the plan.

every community has its own set of problems. Do you know what your community thinks its problems are? Do you agree? Dive in and find out.

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!