by April Scheinoha
The City of Thief River Falls will host an open house for the public to see its draft Comprehensive Plan and provide comments Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 1 to 7 p.m., at the Thief River Falls City Hall.
At 7 p.m., the Thief River Falls Planning Commission will consider any changes to the draft plan, seek further work from its consulting firm and/or determine whether to make a recommendation to City Council regarding the plan.
The Comprehensive Plan provides guidance regarding such things as land use, transportation, parks, environmental issues, etc. Public Works Director Mark Borseth gave the example of ensuring that a single-family house isn’t built by a factory and vice versa.
“It gives us a road map as a council as councils come and go,” said Mayor Brian Holmer.
Even though it provides city leaders with some direction, they aren’t necessarily tied to what is contained in the Comprehensive Plan. “It’s a road map, but sometimes you take a different road when you go places,” Borseth said. He referred to the city deciding to build its new Electric Department building on land initially classified as residential in the 2006 Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan was also amended when Sanford Health announced plans that it wanted to build its new facility along Highway 32, Holmer recalled.
The city crafted its last Comprehensive Plan in 2006. Borseth noted it’s a good idea to reevaluate the Comprehensive Plan every 10 or 15 years and create a new plan.
City leaders have been working with a consulting firm for nearly a year on the updated Comprehensive Plan. Borseth noted the consultant interviewed about 60 community members to obtain their input. Dick Sjoberg, chairperson of the Planning Commission, indicated that the consultant met with the Planning Commission three times to work on the plan.