New Richmond guides land use optionsWhen St. Croix County decided to sell its 500 acres of prime real estate in and near New Richmond, local officials were in a bit of a panic.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
When St. Croix County decided to sell its 500 acres of prime real estate in and near New Richmond, local officials were in a bit of a panic.
The land, much of it along Highway 64, is considered to be important for the community’s future commercial, industrial and residential growth.
According to Mike Darrow, city administrator and utilities manager, once a new bridge is completed across the St. Croix River, the Highway 64 corridor will be a more attractive place to build due to improved transportation access to the Twin Cities.
“It’s such an important new gateway for our community,” Darrow said.
Because the city’s land use plan for that corridor hadn’t been updated for several years, Darrow said the City Council, Planning Commission and Economic Development Commission saw a need to review potential uses for the land along the northwest and north edges of town.
Over the past month, three public meetings have been held to gather input from the public concerning land use along Highway 64. Another Economic Development Commission meeting is set for 7:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss the matter further.
What is emerging is a 20-year plan that will allow the community to take full advantage of the development opportunities in that part of the city, Darrow said. A draft map has been developed and it outlines areas designated for industrial and commercial development, as well as potential residential, park and mixed use zones.
The discussions have also included debate over possible design standards for the corridor that would limit the construction of pole buildings, establish strong road connections and enhance pedestrian and bicycle trails in the area.
“We want to try and get out in front of this,” Darrow said, noting that the county land will be sold at auction at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Gibby’s Lanes in New Richmond.
Darrow said the city wants potential buyers of the land to understand the importance of the corridor and that elected officials wish to be partners with private firms in guiding the future use of the property.
“We want good partners,” he said of interested land buyers.
City officials will soon be “reaching out” to the general public to get their thoughts on the land use proposal, Darrow said. Anyone wishing to offer comments is encouraged to contact Darrow at the city offices.
The hope is to have the land use map in place later in February, following more opportunities for input, Darrow said.
Because of the city’s ability to review development plans within a mile and a half of its border, called extra-territorial plat review, the community can develop land use maps that include property outside its actual legal boundaries.