Our View: Afton can no longer wait on comp planIs it a bit ironic that the community that wants to maintain its rural character is fumbling on a document that can help it do just that?
Is it a bit ironic that the community that wants to maintain its rural character is fumbling on a document that can help it do just that?
In a saga that has continued through the summer the city of Afton finds itself with an incomplete comprehensive growth plan.
In March the city was one of five remaining (out of 189) in the Twin Cities that had yet to turn it its plan to the Metropolitan Council.
Municipalities across the metro are required by state statute to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years and submit the document over to the Metropolitan Council for inspection. The Met Council uses each comp plan to draft an overall plan for the development over the next decade. The current plan provides a picture of what development will be like throughout the Twin Cities through 2030.
One of the big incentives for cities to complete their plan is the fact that it gives each community a say in its future. That’s why its perplexing to hear the most recent news that the city’s comp plan, which the Met Council returned to Afton this spring declaring it unfinished in a few areas, seems to be stuck in limbo.
In May, the City Council voted to terminate its contract with its city planner after learning its comp plan was deemed incomplete. Council members also cited Chuck Marohn’s frequent absences from city meetings as a reason for termination of his contract, effective in 60 days. But here’s the catch: The city asked Marohn to complete the plan in the remaining 60 days of his contract after they chose to part ways with his services.
Was it a surprise when the council met earlier this month to discuss the status of the unfinished comp plan that they received a letter from Marohn stating he doesn’t intend to finish the plan until he receives his last two months of pay? We’re not sure. All we know is that the city of Afton is one of the only communities remaining in all of the Twin Cities not to have turned in its comprehensive growth plan that many cities had completed well over a year ago.
This past spring, the Met Council notified Afton officials that it will not reimburse the city for the second part of its $15,000 payment for the costs associated with development of the comp plan.
We’re not sure what other incentives city leaders need placed in front of them to find a solution to this outstanding issue. But we suggest the City Council moves quickly to solve this problem.
Regardless of who is to blame, the council members owe it to their constituents to make sure its most recent comp plan is finished very soon, and once and for all.