What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a vision of what a city wants to be. It is also a framework for shaping future growth and change, for protecting what a community values, for enhancing what the community wants to improve, and for creating what the community feels is lacking. It also helps clarify the relationships between the community, its neighboring municipalities, and the region.

It contains information about current conditions, trends, and goals and policies for land use, community design, housing, transportation, parks, recreation, and natural resources, water resources, heritage preservation, and community services and facilities.

In Minnesota, authority for land-use planning and regulation is vested primarily in local governments (townships, cities and counties). The Metropolitan Land Planning Act, a state law first passed in 1976 and amended several times since, requires local governments in the seven-county Twin Cities area to develop local comprehensive plans. The plans must contain a number of elements, among them:

  • Maps and data showing current and future land use
  • A plan for staging development (for communities that intend to expand the area in which they provide urban services)
  • A housing plan
  • A surface water management plan
  • Plans for public facilities, like transportation, sewers and parks
  • Other elements

View the statute online

Why is Edina updating its Comprehensive Plan?

The City of Edina currently has a comprehensive plan that is used to guide City decisions. As Edina moves towards the future, the needs of the City and its citizens will change. The changes need to be reflected and addressed in the comprehensive plan to better serve the community, i.e. its currents residents and those that will come here in the future. Also, Minnesota State law requires that comprehensive plans must be reviewed and updated at least once every 10 years. 

Who is responsible for the Comprehensive Plan Update?

By Edina City Code, the Edina Planning Commission is responsible for preparing, reviewing, and making recommendations on the Comp Plan, including its required updates. A Planning Commission Task Force, comprised of residents who are currently on the Planning Commission, oversees the preparation of the updated Comp Plan. Several consultant firms are assisting with the technical review. The Task Force, with City staff assistance, is also conducting a series of public meetings, listening sessions, focus groups, and interviews to provide timely information on work progress, and to obtain input and feedback. 

How does the City use the Comprehensive Plan?

The Plan is used to respond to development, changes in the community (such as increased traffic), and other factors that may have an impact on a community. It can also be used to guide and shape future development, working in conjunction with residents, business owners and land owners. The Plan sets forth a vision and goals, along with a chapter for implementing those goals.

The Planning Commission uses the Comp Plan as the basis for its deliberations and decisions regarding review of development applications, and for its recommendations to City Council. The City Council, other appointed Commissions, and City departments use the Comp Plan to develop programs and the Capital Improvement Plan. And, property owners and developers use it to consider potential future uses and development of property. 

The Metropolitan Council has given the city some forecasts about future growth. What if the City doesn't agree with those forecasts?

The Metropolitan Land Planning Act requires communities to review and update their local comprehensive plans at least once every 10 years. Communities then submit their plans to the Council, which determines if the local plans:

  • -Conform to metropolitan system plans
  • -Are consistent with other adopted plans of the Council
  • -Are compatible with each other

Local governments may not implement any measures that would allow development that conflicts with the comprehensive plan reviewed by the Council. When a community a changes its comprehensive plan, the Council is required to review the amendment before it can go into effect.

With respect to growth forecasts, the Metropolitan Council included these forecasts in the 2005 System Statement for the City of Edina. System Statements explain the implications of metropolitan system plans (transportation and airports, wastewater services, and parks and open space) for each individual community in the Twin Cities metro area. Within the System Statement are the population, households, and employment forecasts for Edina; these are used by the Met Council to plan for its regional systems. The Met Council has asked that communities base their Comp Plan update work on these forecasts. However, they have advised that, given the nature of long-range forecasting, the Met Council will maintain an ongoing dialogue with communities to consider any changes in growth trends or community expectations about growth that may have an impact on regional systems.

Who/what is the Metropolitan council? How are they chosen?

The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area and providing essential services to the region. The Council works with local communities to provide these critical services:

  • -Operates the region's largest bus system
  • -Collects and treats wastewater
  • -Engages communities and the public in planning for future growth
  • -Provides forecasts of the region's population and household growth
  • -Provides affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families
  • -Provides planning, acquisitions and funding for a regional system of parks and trails
  • -Provides a framework for decisions and implementation for regional systems including aviation, transportation, parks and open space, water quality and water management

The 17-member Metropolitan Council has 16 members who each represent a geographic district and one chair who serves at large. They are all appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. The State Senate confirms Council member appointments. 

What is the Metropolitan council's role in the Edina Comprehensive Plan?

The Met Council reviews and approves all Comprehensive Plans prepared by municipalities in the seven-county metro area, including Edina’s. The Met Council works in partnership with communities to use these Comp Plans and its regional system plans to guide public and private development in the region.

What's the process to prepare Edina's Comprehensive Plan Update?

The most recent Comprehensive Update is an update of the 2008 plan update, and did not require a complete re-writing of the plan.

The process established by the Edina City Council, included 180 meetings such as regular work sessions by the Planning Commission Comp Plan Task Force, large-group public meetings, smaller community meetings in specific areas of the city (such as in the areas surrounding the elementary schools), listening sessions (small meetings held in response to invitations by community organizations or neighborhood groups), intergenerational dialogue with residents and other stakeholders, as well as ample opportunity for comment on the city’s website and through other means. 

For more information, please call the Planning Division at 952-826-0369.