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City of Rushford Village implements comprehensive plan


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jan 24th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Progress Edition

Following a thorough fiscal impact report and public input session last July and the restructure of a planning and zoning commission last fall, the City of Rushford Village concluded a long-term effort to develop a modern and workable comprehensive plan.

“In development for the future, it’s a tool to help with your vision and street to achieve that vision,” noted Kristina Peterson of Yaggy Colby and Associates, this past November. The 35 page document highlights a 10-point outline and encompasses 17 goals for the city now and in the future. Several other documents were utilized and review in the new plan development.

Following the goals are action steps for each. “It gives the council a big target to look at when planning,” noted Mayor Dale Schwanke last fall. The plan will also assist with ideas, programs, and collaboration. “People spent a lot of time on this. Questions were asked, research done. It’s a good document and a good discussion,” said Schwanke. “It really forced us to think a, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ kind of thing.”

The most critical piece of the plan, according to Peterson, was land use. Covered in the document are issues and concerns with land use, as well as regulations that pertain to usage. The land use goal, number 10, reads, “Protect the Natural Resources during development.” Action steps include encouraging site designs that minimize surface water run-off, allowing alternative energy systems such as solar energy and wind energy systems according to the city ordinance, the creation or preservation of trees on city managed lands, the consideration of a tree preservation requirements for developments, and a consideration of stricter requirement for slope protection, not only limiting development on steep slopes but prohibiting the creation of steep slopes.

Other key goals include the embracing and documentation of city history, the maintenance or increase of population, and provision of a range of housing choices for new and existing residents with changing needs. The protection of natural resources is a forefront goal, as is the creation of an open space and recreation system that highlights and protects the natural resources.

Public infrastructure is an obvious target and goals pertaining to it include the provision of a well-maintained local street network and support improvements to the regional system, the provision of efficient and well-maintained local water and sewer system, and assurance of a variety of sustainable and accessible community facilities within the region.

As a roughly 75 percent agriculturally-related community, the plan calls for agriculture to remain the primary use in historically farmed areas and respecting the establishment of zoning districts. Agriculture remains significant in the encouragement of storm water practices, while supporting the protection of the Root River in cooperation with the DNR and other agencies.

An increase in the city’s economic development efforts and promotion of the city as an affordable, convenient location to start a business are also included. While a large portion of the plan is for the sustaining growth of residents, the plan does note a desire to improve tourism activity. The adopted vision statement supports this notion, detailing, “A rural community where the surrounding beauty and preservation of farmland, hills, valleys, waterways and wide open spaces offers unforgettable scenery, vast opportunities for outdoor recreation, and an unsurpassed quality of life for residents.”

Last, but certainly not least, the comprehensive plan encourages continued regional planning and inter-governmental collaboration initiatives. This is critical to the cities ongoing efforts with projects such as Destination Medical Center, Taste of the Trail, and Tri-City planning.

“All in all, I certainly see progress,” stated Mayor Dale Schwanke, reviewing the city’s goals for 2013, prior to the start of the new year. “The comprehensive plan was a huge goal.”

The comprehensive plan can be found on the City of Rushford Village’s website at: www.rushfordvillage.govoffice.com.

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