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, protecting what a community values, enhancing what the community wants to improve, and creating what the community feels is lacking. It also helps clarify the relationships between the community, its neighboring municipalities and the region.

    A Comprehensive Plan 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

    Why is Edina updating its Comprehensive Plan?

    Minnesota State law requires that Comprehensive Plans must be reviewed and updated at least once every 10 years.

    The City of Edina currently has a Comprehensive Plan that is used to guide City decisions. As Edina moves toward the future, the needs of the City and its residents will change. The changes need to be reflected and addressed in the Comprehensive Plan to better serve the community -- its currents residents and those who will come here in the future.

    How does the City use the Comprehensive Plan?

    The Comprehensive 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 Comprehensive Plan sets forth a vision and goals, along with a chapter for implementing those goals.

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

    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.

    What are the chapters of the Comprehensive Plan?

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Community Profile

    Chapter 3: Land Use

    Chapter 4: Housing Chapter

    Chapter 5: Transportation

    Chapter 6: Parks

    Chapter 7: Water

    Chapter 8: Environment

    Chapter 9: Community Services

    Chapter 10: Economic Competitiveness & Economic Development

    Chapter 11: Human Rights

    Chapter 12: Health

    Chapter 13: Heritage Preservation

    Chapter 14: Arts & Culture

    Chapter 15: Implementation

    The Comprehensive Plan also includes a number of small area plans, including:

    • 50th & France Small Area Plan
    • 44th & France Small Area Plan
    • Southdale Small Area Plan
    • Wooddale/Valley View Small Area Plan
    • 70th & Cahill Small Area Plan

    What is a small area plan?

    Small area plans provide guidance on land use, transportation, housing, environmental protection and parks/natural spaces uses and improvements in a specific identified geographic area. Ultimately, the goal of a small area plan is to improve the quality of life within the geographic area, as well as the greater community.

    Small area plans help to implement the goals of Edina’s Comprehensive Plan. Small area plans determine land use regulations and help to guide future redevelopment proposals. City staff also use small area plans to identify infrastructure improvements necessary to support the uses proposed in the plan. Small area plans do not, however, guarantee redevelopment will occur or that proposed public improvements will take place. Other factors, such as market conditions or budget priorities, will play an important role in how a small area plan is implemented. It is important to remember that small area plans are intended to provide guidance over a long period of time.

    The 44th & France, 50th & France, Wooddale/Valley View, 70th & Cahill and the Greater Southdale areas had been identified as areas of potential change in the 2008 Comprehensive Plan to be studied for small area completion. Wooddale/Valley View was completed with the remainder of small area plans completed as part of the 2018 Plan Update. All were planned to be elements in the 2018 Edina Comprehensive Plan update.

    Local residents, business owners and other stakeholders worked together with members of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force, consultants and City staff to draft the small area plans for City Council approval.

    Who leads the process to update the Comprehensive Plan?

    By Edina City Code, the Edina Planning Commission is responsible for preparing, reviewing and making recommendations on the Comprehensive Plan, including its required updates.

    A Planning Commission Task Force, comprised of residents who are currently on the Planning Commission, oversaw the preparation of the proposed Comprehensive Plan. The Task Force, with assistance from City staff, conducted a series of public meetings, listening sessions, focus groups and interviews to provide timely information on work progress, and to obtain input and feedback.

    Several consultant firms assisted with the technical review of the draft.

    How many meetings did the City have to update the Comprehensive Plan?

    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 more than 180 meetings, including regular work sessions by the Planning Commission’s Comprehensive 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.

    When was the the last time the City approved a Comprehensive Plan?

    The 2008 Comprehensive Plan was approved by the Edina City Council on Sept. 1, 2009, by Resolution No. 2009-76.

    State law requires cities to update its Comprehensive Plan every 10 years. Work on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan has been under way since 2016.

    What changed from the 2008 Comprehensive Plan?

    All chapters of the Comprehensive Plan have been rewritten. The writing style for each chapter is that of the group that worked on it.

    Chapters the City elected to include in 2008 (but not required by the Metropolitan Council) included Community Facilities & Services, Environment & Energy and Heritage Preservation. Those chapters have been rewritten as well.

    New chapters have been added, including Economic Competitiveness & Economic Development, per encouragement from the Metropolitan Council; and Community Health, Arts & Culture and Human Rights, based on City of Edina priorities. Most, if not all, of the chapters had a specific Commission assigned to review and rewrite the 2008 chapter or create a City-elective chapter that was identified as a priority during the Vision Edina process that preceded work on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.

    The 2008 Edina Comprehensive Plan identified several areas in Edina as “Potential Areas of Change.” During the 2018 Edina Comprehensive Plan process, small area plans were completed by resident-led work groups for those potential areas of change. All Small Area Plans have been approved by the City Council, and are included in the Comprehensive Plan.

    There are also a number of new plans and initiatives that have been added and incorporated into the 2018 Comprehensive Plan since 2008, including the Pedestrian Bike Plan, Living Streets Plan and Water Resource Management Plan.

    Did other jurisdictions have any comments on the proposed Comprehensive Plan?

    After the City Council approved a draft of the Comprehensive Plan, there was a six-month comment period for surrounding jurisdictions to provide feedback. The comment period closed Nov. 8. The following agencies provided comment:

    Hennepin County and Minnesota Department of Transportation:

    • Both commented on the Transportation chapter
    • Neither found any issues or concerns

    Three Rivers Park District:

    • Revisions to three maps to better illustrate the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail
    • Language revisions to better and more accurately describe Three Rivers Park District properties, trails and trail alignments and identify the preferred alignment for the Canadian Pacific Rail Regional Trail
    • Revisions to address typographical errors

    City of Bloomington:

    • Revision to a map to demonstrate Bloomington’s decision to no longer support the Conceptual East/West Connector, a bridge over I-494 between France Avenue and Normandale Boulevard

    What's next for the Comprehensive Plan?

    The City Council approved the Comprehensive Plan at its Dec. 3, 2019 meeting. The Plan has been sent to the Metropolitan Council to review for completeness. Once the plan has been deemed as complete, the Metropolitan Council has 120 calendar days to complete its review and take final action on the plan. Once the plan has been approved by Metropolitan Council, the City Council will pass a resolution sometime in 2020 formally adopting the plan.

    When will work begin on the 2028 Comp Plan?

    Work is anticipated to begin in 2026 on the 2028 Comp Plan update.

    Which consultants worked on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan and what were their roles?

    Consultants that worked on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan were:

    • Biko Associates, Inc. -- William Smith, Daniel Lubben, Aida Strom
    • Bolton & Menk, Inc. -- Haila Maze, Sarah Strain
    • Cornejo Consultants -- Dan Cornejo
    • Economic Development Services, Inc. -- Janna King
    • Griffin Design, LLC. -- Timothy J. Griffin, Joseph Hang
    • ZAN Associates, Inc. -- Dan Edgerton, Faith Xiong, Coal Dorius, Tom Holmes
    • Bob Close Studio, LLC. -- Bob Close
    • Architecture Field Office -- Mic Johnson, Sarah Crouch

    Based on comments from the City Council’s advisory Commissions, the consultants took primary responsibility for assembly of the Comprehensive Plan elements and small area plans, while providing support and assistance to other City staff and resident advisory groups and assisting in community engagement.

    Biko Associates, Inc., was responsible for ensuring responsiveness of Comprehensive Plan elements to Metropolitan Council requirements, especially with regard to conformance with all metropolitan systems policy plans, consistency with requirements of the Metropolitan Land Planning Act and Metropolitan Council policies, and compatibility with the plans of other local jurisdictions, including school districts.

    What is the Metropolitan Council? How are members chosen?

    The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area. It provides essential services to the region. The Metropolitan Council works with local communities to:

    • Operate the region's largest bus system
    • Collect and treat wastewater
    • Engage communities and the public in planning for future growth
    • Provide forecasts of the region's population and household growth
    • Provide affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families
    • Provide planning, acquisitions and funding for a regional system of parks and trails
    • Provide 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 the governor. The State Senate confirms Council member appointments.

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

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

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

    The Comprehensive Plan does not establish a population goal.

    The Metropolitan Council completes population forecasts for the seven-county metro area as part of its regional planning mandate in State Statute. Forecasts are meant to be realistic assumptions that can be used to guide investments in infrastructure and public services. They are not goals, aspirations or targets.

    The regional forecast looks at the region’s business conditions and competitive advantages that determine economic and employment levels which, in turn, drive population growth by attracting people to the Twin Cities. Additional land use modeling looks at how populations, demographics, regional policies and available land affect real estate supply and demand.

    From the Metropolitan Council’s perspective, a central function of comprehensive planning is to be able to anticipate growth and plan responsibly for it. Their direct purview relates to regional systems for parks, transportation and water resources, as well as additional regional requirements pertaining to affordable housing. In support of this, the Metropolitan Council provides specific guidance to communities about information needed to inform development and system planning and implementation.

    The Metropolitan Council periodically adjusts forecasts based on new data, to ensure they are as accurate as possible. This has occurred recently with Edina and several other cities.

    Forecasting growth and land use change are complex endeavors, particularly at a sub-regional level, due to the number of variables that contribute to change. As a result, it is necessary for the Metropolitan Council to at times adjust the forecasts based on new data they receive.

    In addition to other data tracking, the region’s annual population and household estimate program provides insights as to whether near-term forecasts are accurate. For instance, in mid-2018, the Metropolitan Council completed its 2017 estimates. These showed that some communities were growing faster than anticipated with new units, so that the 2020 forecast numbers may be too low given current trends.

    The Metropolitan Council informed staff that their projection for Edina was too low as the City had already hit the 2020 projection. The Metropolitan Council gave the City a 2040 population projection of 63,600 to include in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update. This was based on recent development in Edina and the recent Comprehensive Plan Amendments for those developments. The increase would be about 19 percent from Edina’s current population. Again, this projection is not a mandate, goal, aspiration or target.

    Can the Comprehensive Plan be amended? If so, how?

    Yes, the Comprehensive Plan may be amended at the direction of the City Council.

    An applicant may request and receive a land use change by recommendation of the Planning Commission, approval of the City Council and review and approval by the Metropolitan Council. Public hearings are held for all amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.

    Where can I get updates about the Comprehensive Plan?

    The 2018 Comprehensive Plan process started in 2016. Throughout the comprehensive planning process, more than 180 meetings, workshops and open houses were held.

    To stay updated on the status of the Comprehensive Plan as it's now under review by the Metropolitan Council, visit Better Together Edina.