The city of Carver, a historic Minnesota River town in Carver County, is looking to the future.
The city is working on a comprehensive plan update to help carry out the community’s vision of how it wants to grow and change. The city will use the plan as it decides how to develop its land, preserve older areas, accommodate businesses and housing, provide roads and sewers, protect natural areas, and meet other community aspirations.
Carver qualified for a planning grant from the Met Council and has used it to help involve residents in shaping the city’s plan.
“The comprehensive plan is a framework to help us make the day-to-day decisions that affect the city’s long-term future,” said Carver Mayor Mike Webb. “The Council’s planning grant gave us an opportunity, not only to plan as a city council and a planning commission, but to bring in members of our community and their ideas about how to move forward.
“The process of putting together a comprehensive plan is very ‘grass-roots.’ The plan guides decisions down the line that, in turn, affect residents directly,” Webb said. “It’s easy for someone to react warily to a possible land-use change. ‘I’m used to hearing cows in the morning. Am I going to be hearing trucks go by now?’ I think our residents better understand how the plan guides us as we interact with developers and new businesses coming to town.”
“The Council’s planning grant gave us an opportunity…to start a process where residents could actively participate. For residents, I think it was revealing how much say they could have in the process and how important the comprehensive plan is to the community’s future.”
– Carver Mayor Mike Webb, Scott County
Engaging residents to shape plan
Carver’s effort to engage its residents became, in effect, a “two-way street” of communication – an exchange of information, viewpoints and insights between city officials and residents to produce an outcome firmly rooted in the community.
“We were able to get the information into the community and start a process where residents could actively participate,” Webb said. “For residents, I think it was revealing how much say they could have in the process and how important the comprehensive plan is to the community’s future.”
State law requires cities to create local comprehensive plans
Carver is responding to a state law that requires all cities in the seven-county metro area to develop a 30-year comprehensive plan each decade. The Met Council reviews those plans considering regional plans for transportation, water resources, and parks and open space.
Did you know?
In the current planning cycle, the Council awarded a total of $1.9 million in planning assistance grants. The grants went to 67 individual communities, 2 counties (Scott and Carver) and 1 consortium of townships in Dakota County. The grants are targeted to communities that are experiencing growth and have less fiscal capacity to engage in robust planning on their own.