Starting in 2016, the Metropolitan Council will make a total of $1.38 million available for grants to eligible communities and counties in the seven-county metro area to support the upcoming round of comprehensive plan updates.
In March, the Council directed staff to implement a Planning Assistance Grant Program. Eligible communities will include those with:
2015 net tax capacity (NTC) per capita that is less than or equal to median NTC in the seven-county metro AND
Forecasted growth from 2010 to 2040 that is greater than or equal to the median percent forecasted growth.
Grants will also be available to a county or a consortium of at least five communities working as a group to update their comprehensive plans.
Under these eligibility criteria—using 2014 data—45 sewered communities, 3 unsewered communities, and 3 counties or county collaboratives (who have completed joint plans for a group of communities in the past) would be eligible for grants next year. In early 2016, the Council will make a final list of eligible communities using the most up-to-date data for 2015 and formally launch the program.
Council steps up planning assistance
The Planning Assistance Grant Program is just one of four primary ways that the Council will assist local communities as they undertake their comprehensive land use plan updates, as required by state law every 10 years. The Council also provides:
The Local Planning Handbook. The Council is updating the online guide in preparation for the upcoming round of comprehensive plan updates in 2016-2018. The Handbook is organized around plan elements required under state law (e.g., land use, transportation). The Handbook will clearly identify the minimum content requirements for each community and streamline the process and expectations. But it will also provide additional resources to support communities that choose to go beyond the minimum requirements and focus on other topics.
Assistance from Sector Representatives. The Council has a Local Planning Assistance staff member assigned to each community in the region. These experienced planners provide professional planning and technical assistance on an ongoing and as requested basis to local governments. See Sector Representatives and the communities they serve.
On Course workshop series. Beginning in 2016 and through the end of 2017, the Council will provide a workshop series that will help local planners and officials learn how to update required elements of their comprehensive plans. The Council will also offer a variety of workshops focused on topics for communities that choose to go beyond the minimum requirements. The Council is exploring new ways of making these training workshops accessible, including online learning modules and webinars.
Updated local forecasts to be issued in April
Council staff will distribute the latest draft of local forecasts for employment, population, and households to local governments on April 9, with request for feedback by May 8. Final local forecasts will be presented to the Council for adoption this summer and will be included in the System Statements the Council will issue in fall 2015. System Statements describe how the updated forecasts, and system and policy plans, apply to each individual community.
Then communities can begin the process of updating their local comprehensive plans in earnest.
See Planning Resources for Communities.