Public gets look at proposed city plan
Final draft to go to council in May
Increased downtown housing, improved highway connections and an expanded trail system are among elements in a draft comprehensive plan for the City of Minot that looks out to 2040.
Final comments into the new plan are being accepted until March 3. A draft of the plan was unveiled to the public at an informational meeting Wednesday.
Minot’s current comprehensive plan dates to 2012 updates, when the city was in the early stage of flood recovery and was experiencing an oil boom. The new plan forecasts growth, projecting a population of about 66,500 for the city by 2040.
Scott Harmstead, project manager with SRF Consulting, explained a comprehensive plan is the guidance document for land-use and development decisions.
“This is not zoning. This isn’t changing zoning rights,” he said. “It’s kind of the foundation leading to other planning efforts.”
The components of the plan document are: city profile; goals and objectives; land use; transportation; housing; public service, utilities and facilities; parks, green space and trails; economic development, community character, aesthetics and design; and implementation.
These component documents can be found on line at minot2040.com.
There were 1,037 responses to a community survey conducted in drafting the plan. Residents who were asked what they see in other communities that they would like to see in Minot responded they want sidewalks and trails, more business variety to include a Costco or Sam’s Club, streetscapes and aesthetics, family activities and entertainment, a community recreation center, improved road maintenance and snow removal, more efficient roadways and a vibrant downtown.
“Recreation was one of the main themes in the community survey,” said Dave Sweeney, community planner with SRF Consulting, which worked with a local steering committee on plan development.
The proposed comprehensive plan incorporates community input with elements such as public use of riverfronts for trails or other activities, beautifying the city’s entry corridors, housing access and variety, and roadway safety with bicycle and pedestrian uses in mind. It incorporates previous plans for commercial development and street connection improvements in northwest Minot and adds development of a gateway commercial area from U.S. Highway 2 to 37th Avenue Southwest along a realigned 30th Street Southwest.
Regarding economic development, the plan shifts the approach, Sweeney said.
“It’s not just providing incentives or tax breaks,” he said. “That’s part of it, sure. But it’s also investing in the community. It’s the quality-of-life aspect. It’s placemaking. So economic development really touches on all of the other elements of the plan, ensuring that you have quality housing, ensuring the public infrastructure is in place.”
The plan provides guidance by segments of the city, including the northwest and southwest quadrants, downtown, flood impacted neighborhoods north of downtown and around Minot State University as well as the large extraterritorial remainder representing the city’s east side.
Downtown planning includes a downtown plaza for food truck fairs or other events. The plan prioritizes downtown retail.
“We want to drive retail as much as possible on the first floor because that makes for an active downtown environment. We also want to bring more residents downtown, so one of the goals of the plan is to add 500 new housing units downtown, whether that’s new development or rehabilitation,” Sweeney said. “That’s a big number but we think it’s achievable.”
To add to guidance in the comprehensive plan, the city will be developing a housing needs and market analysis and a long-range transportation plan. The Minot Park District will pursue a parks and recreation plan, and architectural students at North Dakota State University are in the process of a downtown design project to be released May 3.
Also in May, the draft comprehensive plan will be presented to the Minot Planning Commission and then to the Minot City Council for review and possible adoption.