By Bill Lindeke
After a year of working on the city’s mandated revision of its housing, transportation and other planning policies, the 2040 Lauderdale Comprehensive Plan update is nearing completion. If adopted and approved, the Lauderdale plan promises to bring some big changes to the community over the next few years.
“We’re looking at all the things we’re required to look at, like transit and housing and even airports,” said Heather Butkowski, Lauderdale city administrator. “We’ll be making sure land uses are consistent with what we think the future is going to be, and after this whole process is done bring zoning into conformance with the vision.”
While the plan is not yet finalized, the draft has been emerging for much of the past year, thanks to a city-organized committee that has been meeting since last April.
“We’ve got 10 people on the committee, and there’s also a website,” Butkowski explained. Residents can review the draft plan at www.lauderdaleplan2040.com
The city of Lauderdale even hired a consultant to go to events such as the farmers’ market during the summertime to gather ideas. The city committee has incorporated ideas from market-goers into the draft proposals.
At this point, one of the most innovative aspects to the comprehensive plan is a potential “turn back” of Eustis Avenue. A “turn back” is when the ownership, including design control and maintenance, switches from one jurisdiction to another. In this case, the control of Eustis would transfer from Ramsey County to the city. This would allow Lauderdale to widen Eustis, a key link with St. Anthony Park, from its current narrow width between Como and Larpenteur avenues. A redesigned Eustis would help the city finally install sidewalks along the street, helping pedestrians to avoid walking in the street and improving safety for everyone.
There are many more details in the comprehensive plan update, and residents will have one more chance to offer input at an upcoming open house at City Hall on Wednesday, March 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.
As Butkowski describes it, the meeting will “allow members of the community to come and take a look at what’s been discussed and give perspective on it before we move ahead.”
The Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council, which shapes regional planning, requires comprehensive plans to be submitted by all cities within the seven-county Metropolitan Area, so there are clear time pressures and steps for all communities to follow.
According to Butkowski, after it’s adopted locally this spring, the Lauderdale plan would then go to the neighboring cities of St. Paul, Minneapolis and Falcon Heights for comments. Finally, it will be submitted to the Met Council for final approval.
At that point, Lauderdale staff can take a break, because it will be 10 more years until the next one comes around.
Neighbors are setting plans, too
Falcon Heights and District 12, St. Anthony Park, are also working on their 10-year comprehensive plans. St. Anthony Park’s plan, if approved by the District 12 Community Council, will be submitted to the city of St. Paul for inclusion into its new comprehensive plan. Como Park District 10 completed its last 10-year plan in 2015.
Falcon Heights kicked off its work on development of its plan at a Community Visioning meeting Feb. 26. Attendees engaged in interactive exercises designed to gather ideas about the future direction of the city.
The District 12 council conducted a business survey last fall and held two community forums in November to gather input. Community members have a choice of two open houses to attend to learn about the draft plan: Thursday, March 15, 7-9 p.m., in Northwestern Hall of Luther Seminary, 1501 Fulham St., or Saturday, March 17, 1-3 p.m. in the Parish Hall of the Church of St. Cecilia, 2357 Bayless Place.
Residents are asked to review the plan on line at sapcc.org/planning.
Bill Lindeke is a member of the St. Paul Planning Commission and an occasional contributor to the Park Bugle.