City seeking input for new Comprehensive Plan
'Plan today for the West Fargo you want tomorrow" is the message West Fargo officials are imparting as they strive to update the City's Comprehensive Plan, the first time since April of 2000.
Toward that end, a special 'family-oriented' community meeting has been set for Thursday, May 10, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, located in the Lodoen Community Center at 109 3rd St. E., to gather input from residents as to what they feel should be included in the plan.
The Comprehensive Plan serves as the City's tool for vision and identity by developing a roadmap to guide the physical development aspects of the community, including municipal growth and other related municipal infrastructure improvements; identifying strategic community issues and providing residents, businesses, landowners and elected officials a mechanism for addressing those issues; and a starting point for the development of more detailed implementation level plans and strategies by various municipal departments and agencies.
The work is being completed by the City of West Fargo staff in cooperation with the Metropolitan Council of Governments, who are doing the lion's share of the work, according to City Planning Director Larry Weil. The goal is to complete the plan by the end of this calendar year.
Weil said the main reason the plan is being re-visited is because of all the growth the City has seen in recent years. "We figured it was time to re-evaluate, which we like to do every five to ten years depending on the growth."
Since 2000, West Fargo has experienced a 68 percent increase in population, now topping 24,000, and through annexation, has effectively doubled its land size bringing the present count to over 9,400 acres.
Work on the new plan was initiated the end of 2006, and so far, it has been moving along well, Weil said. A steering committee has met several times to collect beginning data and public input, followed by a number of focus groups, addressing abutting jurisdiction, public official boundaries, special issues and services, infrastructure, new growth area business, existing downtown business, and housing.
Activity is now concentrating on the public input phase which should be wrapped up by the end of May. Part of that public gathering will involve a survey that will be conducted yet this month, to solicit even more input officials feel will be valuable to the plan. Weil said the purpose of the survey "is to get a broader perspective from the public as to what they see are emerging issues in the community that we need to deal with."
The final draft of the updated Comprehensive Plan is expected to be completed by October or November of this year to ensure time for public hearings to be conducted by both the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission and the West Fargo City Commission before it receives ultimate approval by the latter.
Weil said the intent of the May 10 meeting is similar to the survey's purpose - to gather additional input and solicit ideas in order to make the plan as well-rounded as possible. "We're trying to take another look at what the community vision is and issues the community feels should be addressed through the comprehensive plan, along with what they feel are other needs for the future."
The community input meeting will be informal in nature, with residents and interested persons encouraged to stop by at any time throughout the evening and discuss community issues and share ideas. There will be no formal presentation, but staff from the West Fargo Planning Department and the Metro COG will be on hand to meet with the public. As part of the community input meeting, the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce will be providing food and beverages for those in attendance.
Weil said there will be displays set up, i.e. maps, poster boards, and a variety of pictures, that people can view highlighting different aspects of the community. There will also be a coloring area established for the children, so they too can express their desires for the future of West Fargo.
Residents are also encouraged to learn more about the plan update and participate in the West Fargo Comprehensive Plan Survey at www.westfargoplan.org. For additional information, contact Weil at 701-433-5322.