Tag Archives: Planning Commission

WTF! Northfield Planning commissioners behaving badly?

City-of-Northfield-MNNfld News reporter Suzy Rook posted an opinion piece on Thursday titled Northfield Planning commissioners behaving badly.

Two different sources tell me that two Planning Commission members are, well, behaving badly. One, it seems, took it on him or herself to remove signs they felt were illegally placed. Come to find out, the signs were completely legal and placed in the right-of-way by city workers… The second commissioner cranked things up a few dozens notches, apparently dislodging a bench cemented into a Division Street sidewalk and moving to another location down the street.

Members of the City of Northfield Planning Commission-Zoning Board of Appeals (PC-ZBA):

  • Thomas Bisel
  • James Herreid
  • Alice Thomas
  • Steve Rholl
  • Richard Schulte
  • Jay Jasnoch
  • Joey Robison

Um, anyone know what is going on?

Update May 25: I found the wandering bench.

Division St. bench

Chamber of Commerce raises concerns about the proposed Land Development Code

Land Development Code Board and Commission Review Draft-April 7, 2011 Zoning Map draft
The Planning Commission-Zoning Board of Appeals web packet for April 7 contains, among other things, a letter from the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce concerning their issues with the Land Development Code Board and Commission Review Draft-April 7, 2011 (312-page PDF). These concerns surfaced at last week’s Northfield City Council meeting (see pages 1-23 of the April 12 council packet).

The Planning Commission packet states on Page 33:

The letter from Chamber Board of Directors contains five broad points that are not specific but contain content that the Commission should be able to respond to. These five broad points can be summarized as follows:

1. Land Development Code needs more flexibility for commercial areas to allow for business diversity.

2. The Code needs to identify areas for industrial development, specifically the proposed Business Park.

3. Restrictions on college owned property undermines their ability to effectively utilize their property.

4. Residential zoned areas need more flexibility so property owners can build what customers want to live in.

5. The LDC should include a statement that contains a streamlined process to change the LDC.

The Chamber of Commerce also stressed that specific comments from builders and developers be viewed as comment from the Chamber as well. The comments from the builder/developers are much more specific and contain 18 comments in total, 13 comments relate to commercial regulations, and five comments relate to residential regulations.

The letter from the Chamber starts on page 37 of the packet.

Podcast: PC chair hands the curmudgeon his ass

Tracy DavisIt’s never pretty when Ross bails on our radio show/podcast and yesterday was no exception.Curmudgeon Griff Wigley

Tracy put on her Chair of the Northfield Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals (PCZBA)  hat and after exchanging pleasantries about sidewalk dining, we went toe-to-toe on the planning process for the business park(s). She played the ‘nice’ card and then ended with a lecture till we ran out of time. I was unhappy. I’m mostly over it.

Continue reading Podcast: PC chair hands the curmudgeon his ass

Land Development Code update

(Originally posted on my CityCommons.net blog.)

Thanks to the City Council, the Planning Commission, and especially to Tim Freeland of KYMN Radio and City Councillor Betsey Buckheit for making my job easier.

First, a quick update on the LDC from this morning’s KYMN Radio newscast.

Next, the video of last week’s presentation to the City Council on the Land Development Code as it relates to existing (“built residential”) neighborhoods:

Continue reading Land Development Code update

Podcast: Alice Thomas on the old Tires Plus site ruling, Land Development Code process

Tracy Davis, Alice Thomas, Griff Wigley, Ross CurrierOur guest: Alice Thomas, member of the City of Northfield Planning Commission-Zoning Board of Appeals (PC-ZBA). We discussed their recent ruling on the old Tires Plus property (Lansing garden center) as well as the Land Development Code (LDC). I’ve turned off comments on this post; continue discussion on Tracy’s post from last week.


Click play to listen. 30 minutes. Continue reading Podcast: Alice Thomas on the old Tires Plus site ruling, Land Development Code process

Yes, development is still happening in Northfield; and this one is different

Heritage Apartments

Heritage Apartments I blogged last fall that Jasnoch Construction had started grading for an apartment building in the big empty lot across Jefferson Road between Heritage Drive and Honey Locust Drive, adjacent to their Hidden Valley Apartments. The walls started going up this week. I took the photo looking southwest, with Northfield Target, First National Bank Northfield South, and Community Resource Bank in the background.

Update 4/6: I’ve added the photo on the right, as a new sign was put up that says “Heritage Aparments” with an opening scheduled for fall, 2009. It also says that these are luxury apartments, and that the building will include underground parking and an elevator.

Then-planning commissioner, now-Councilor Betsey Buckheit wrote in a comment on that blog post:

This development could be called the first one developed under the still not quite adopted Comp Plan (Public hearing at the Planning Commission Tuesday – almost there!). The Jasnochs should get a round of applause for agreeing to work with the new plan even though it isn’t yet the law of the city.

Under the new form-based, mixed use principles of the new plan, parking is distributed in smaller lots, apartment entrances face the street rather than parking, and the entire site is envisioned as mixed use with commercial as well as residential development. I’d like to see this succeed. The Planning Commission struggled mightily trying to arrive at a definition of “mixed use” under the old comp plan back in 2002 or 2003 and failed. The new Comp Plan and supporting regulations are much clearer about how to do this.

As Sean points out, apartment living is more efficient. Thinking slightly larger but still compactly, by providing housing and a small commercial center around the Heritage/Jefferson Road intersection, Northfield could create another walkable area for the folks in the surrounding apartments and the single family homes up behind Target.

Podcast: Planning Commissioner Alice Thomas on the Land Development Code

Alice Thomas, Ross Currier, Tracy Davis Our guest this week: City of Northfield Planning Commission member Alice Thomas. After our usual time-wasting fluff segment, we talked with her about the current process for revising the Land Development Code (LDC), AKA development ordinances, now that the 2008 Comprehensive Plan is finished.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes.

Continue reading Podcast: Planning Commissioner Alice Thomas on the Land Development Code