Local Planning

While your community establishes a unique local vision, it must also reflect the adopted regional policies outlined in the system and policy plans. Local plans contain much greater detail than regional plans by identifying local street connections, neighborhood parks, residential development standards, and phasing of utility extensions and improvements necessary for your individual community. But these local planning efforts tie into the larger regional infrastructure of parks and trail systems, arterial road networks, and wastewater infrastructure. It is the efforts of the 188 cities, townships, and counties together that implement a shared regional vision.

Local Comprehensive Plans

Minnesota Statute requires certain topic areas to be included in local comprehensive plans. The Local Planning Handbook is organized around these Plan Elements and provides guidance on how to meet requirements within these planning areas. These Plan Elements in the Local Planning Handbook are:

  • Land Use

  • Transportation

  • Water Resources (Wastewater, Surface Water, Water Supply)

  • Park & Trails

  • Housing

  • Plan Implementation

Other Plan Elements are identified as issues of regional importance and are reflective of Thrive MSP 2040’s policies. These Plan Elements are:

  • Resilience

  • Economic Competitiveness

Local Plan Reviews

Part of our statutory responsibility is to review the local comprehensive plans of local governmental units. Similar to local development applications, the Council must review a plan for completeness before initiating the review process for an update or an amendment. A plan is considered complete when it includes the elements required by statute and contains sufficient information for the Council to conduct its review. The Council’s review covers three primary areas:

  • Conformance with metropolitan system plans

  • Consistency with adopted policy plans

  • Compatibility with plans of affected and adjacent jurisdictions

The minimum requirements sections under each Plan Element provide you with the necessary information to submit a complete plan to the Council for review.

If we find that your plan does not conform to our system plans and it either has the potential to have a substantial impact on a metropolitan system or represent a significant departure from a system plan, we can require you to modify your plan. Minnesota law defines the specific legal process for plan modifications (MN Statute 473.175) and contesting a requirement for plan modification (MN Statute 473.866).

Technical Assistance

We offer several technical assistance programs to communities as part of the 2040 planning cycle. We have new, updated, and familiar resources. Click on the links below for more information.