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Paynesville Press - Oct.23, 2002

Planners preparing land use map

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

For the last several months, the Paynesville Comprehensive Plan Task Force has been working with planners to create a map of future land use for the city.

The map is a combined effort of community leaders, members of the community, and professional planners and will eventually become part of the city's comprehensive plan. While not binding, the land use map will give the community and planners an idea of how land could be best used in the future.

Since land within the city limits is already zoned and most of it is already in use, there were minimal land use changes proposed within the city limits. The map focuses on land adjacent to the city the most likely areas for growth.

Much of the area's growth is dependent on which route Highway 23 takes. While future plans for the highway's route haven't been finalized, the map focuses on the proposed routes that go west and then north of town. The map places new commercial areas near the proposed highway, mostly to the north of the city. According to planner Chad Carlson, commercial areas, especially convenience stores and strip malls, should be placed near busy roads to attract customers and to keep traffic out of residential areas.

The map indicates that industrial areas could be added adjacent, but across the river, to the current Industrial Park. The map also indicates other new industrial areas northeast of town and just south of the new airstrip. Industrial areas should be placed in areas where there is good access to highways, and, wherever possible, away from residential areas, said Carlson.

New single family residential areas have been slated to be in areas east and southeast of town, where two new developments have already been added to the city. Other residential areas are west of town along the Crow River (also near a new development) and around the new airport.

Other areas have been planned for multi-family housing and open space or parks, including public space along the flood plain of the river.

The land use map is not binding for zoning, but it will be considered when future zoning issues arise. The land use map could serve as support for a zoning request that agrees with its a recommendations, or it would need to be superceded by a zoning request at odds with its recommendations.

The map was created using pres-ent land use maps, environmental features of the community, and proposed routes for Highway 23.

The comprehensive plan will be used to help the city plan for growth. Normally, a comprehensive plan looks 10 -15 years into the future, but planners say that Paynesville's plan should look out 20-30 years, since the construction of Highway 23 will affect the area's growth.

The task force hopes to make the finishing touches on the map and the comprehensive plan within the next few weeks, so it can be examined by the community at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. and then adopted.

The future land use map can be viewed at Paynesville City Hall.



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