County commissioners initiate comprehensive plan [UPDATED]Published 9:33am Thursday, March 8, 2012 Updated 11:38am Thursday, March 8, 2012
Otter Tail County will soon join other counties across Minnesota by developing a comprehensive plan. Commissioners, on Tuesday, emphasized the importance for having a blueprint of what the county should look like 20, 30 and even more years down the road.
“Whatever we do, we know we’ll need buy-in from each of the 62 townships in Otter Tail County. We’ll seek their input,” said Commission Chairman Lee Rogness. “We can build on what we already have in place.”
Planning is not new to Rogness. Before being elected to the county board, he served on a county agricultural advisory committee, in 2007-08, which studied the ramifications that come with economic growth.
“What we don’t want to see are people fighting for space,” said Rogness. “In future years we want to see an orderly prospering for agriculture, housing and other economic components.”
Commissioner Doug Huebsch, who represents the Perham area, said comprehensive planning is important as the county plans for proper land use relating to agriculture, the service sector and tourism.
The five-person board passed a resolution directing County Coordinator Larry Krohn, in conjunction with the various departments, to come up with a timeline and how to proceed with a comprehensive plan process. Krohn, department heads and county employees will analyze comprehensive plans that have been developed in other counties throughout Minnesota.
“A document (such as a comprehensive plan) can be changed accordingly in future years and doesn’t need to be written in stone,” said Commissioner Wayne Johnson who represents the Pelican Rapids area.
John Lindquist, a commissioner who represents the Dalton area and other sections of southwestern Otter Tail County, said it’s important to have planning in place, for the sake of future generations. He agreed that a document on comprehensive planning is needed for an orderly growth of the agricultural sector and other sectors.
Commissioner Roger Froemming, who represents the Parkers Prairie area, noted that 23 of the 62 townships in Otter Tail County have some sort of planning documents in place. As for the county itself, he noted that discussions on this same topic took place in the 1990s.
All five commissioners unanimously agree that the time is at hand to move along with comprehensive planning. A major goal, they said, is to have something in place that will help ensure orderly growth.