Comp plan will be good to have underway

Ward County moving ahead with its effort to craft a comprehensive land use plan is a good sign that improvements in how the county develops in the years to come are in the pipeline.

The county announced this week that it has selected the engineering firm KLJ to develop a comprehensive land use plan. Both the proposed cost and timeline are within the reasonable expectations of the county when the issue was previously discussed last year.

Ward County has been operating from a generic 18-page document adopted in 1994 as its plan. However, it is far less a plan than it is a statement of goals and objectives. A comprehensive land use plan is more of a community blueprint into which, ideally, planning and zoning decisions subsequently fit.

The county commission considered the need to develop a new plan last year after a debate over its policy requiring right-of-way donations on new plats. However, adopting a comp plan will offer countless advantages in the decades to come as both the public and private sector will be able to work within the confines of a big picture vision for the county. Hopefully the plan can also clean up a few things such as the unsavory right-of-way “land grab,” as it has been called.

Community input will play a part in development of this plan and Minot Daily News strongly encourages residents and any stakeholders to get involved in this process. At the very least, pay attention to the process and let your voice be heard on aspects of importance to you. A comprehensive land use plan has tremendous impact for years to come and it is extremely important that the public play a role in the details.

In the meantime, it’s rare good news from the county to see this process move closer to reality.