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Get involved in Alexandria's comprehensive plan update

Editor's note: The following information was provided by Karin Tank, assistant city planner for Alexandria.

The city of Alexandria recently embarked on an update to its 2007 Comprehensive Plan.

The update will integrate current community values with city policy and actions that will preserve and enhance Alexandria's unique livability.

The process of updating the comprehensive plan will allow Alexandria to discuss the big picture issues that face the city's present and future.

It allows the community to define the way they want Alexandria to look and participate in creating a sense of place unique to the community.

The comprehensive plan will guide the overall future growth and development of the city. It guides decisions of the city council and planning commission in all aspects of community development and serves as a tool for city staff in the operation of municipal government.

The city has directed the scope of the comprehensive plan to include a demographic overview of the city, including historic and projected population statistics along with sections pertaining to natural resources, land use, housing, transportation, public utilities, park and open space and community facilities and cultural resources.

The plan will also include a section relating to implementation.

As the guide for community development, the comprehensive plan influences many other decisions and may lead to potential modifications of the zoning ordinance and other land use controls; influence the form, pace and location of new development; promote the maintenance and enhancement of existing neighborhoods and commercial districts; determine approaches for protecting natural resources and open spaces; guide city investments in road, utilities and parks; determine the need for city roles in economic development, redevelopment and housing and influence future enrollments for Alexandria schools.

The Alexandria Planning Department and the Alexandria Planning Commission will lead the planning process. The seven-member planning commission is appointed in an advisory capacity to the city council.

Over the course of nine months, the commission will invest considerable time in reviewing and analyzing data, identifying issues and concerns, assessing community development options, formulating policy recommendations and developing a future land use map in an effort to anticipate and provide for future growth and development.

Plan chapters will be drafted and reviewed monthly at regularly scheduled planning commission meetings, which are open to the public. The plan becomes effective after a Public Hearing and adoption by the city council (anticipated to be September 2012).

Public participation is a vital part of the process. A successful comprehensive plan reflects the values, aspiration and priorities of the whole community. That's why it is essential for everyone to learn about and contribute to the planning process.

There are multiple ways you can get involved to suit your interests and schedule, to learn more about opportunities for Alexandria in the future, and to make sure that your ideas are heard.

Information related to the plan can be found online at This website is a central location for plan information, alerts and updates. You can find information about meeting dates, surveys, documents, maps, contacts and more. Please bookmark this site, visit often, provide comments and ideas and sign up for e-mail updates.

For those who do not have computer access, information on the comprehensive plan process and documents will be available at Alexandria City Hall (704 Broadway).

If you have questions or require further information about the plan update, contact City Planner Mike Weber at (320) 759-3626 or Assistant Planner Karin Tank at (320) 759-3647.