December 21, 2014

Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is an officially adopted document that provides the City with the legal basis and the policy direction needed to create a sense of certainty about future land uses, environmental quality, and infrastructure improvements within the community. The plan allows leaders and citizens to make informed decisions about the community’s development over the next ten to 20 years.

The purpose of planning is to help manage change – to allow communities to guide change rather than being guided by it. Planning typically looks at the past, evaluates the present and projects into the future. The planning process is intended as an aid to sound decision making – to help citizens and public officials integrate their short-term actions with long-term goals. Planning helps a community to grow in an orderly manner and provides for compatible land use development patters. 

2008 West Fargo Comprehensive Plan

Growth and development is constantly changing the community.  As a result it is important to periodically evaluate the community’s vision, goals, policies and plans.  Several significant changes have taken place since 2000 which prompted the City to update its 2000 Comprehensive Plan.  The Federal Highway Administration and North Dakota Department of Transportation approved the construction of an interchange at Interstate 94 and 9th Street East.  The City of Fargo has made changes to their Growth Plan for the area along the east side of 9th Street East and south of I-94 which created some land use compatibility issues for land uses on the west side of the street.  Also, West Fargo has experienced a growth rate which is estimated to exceed the growth rate for the last two decades combined.  Additionally, the City Limits and City Extraterritorial Area have changed substantially by adding new areas since 2000.  Finally, the City Commission has amended the Land Use Plan several times to better guide development south of Interstate 94.  With all these changes within a short period of time, it was appropriate to re-evaluate the 2000 Comprehensive Plan and provide for any necessary changes.

The West Fargo Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the City Commission in January 2008.  A Comprehensive Plan steering committee consisting of representatives from the City Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, Economic Development Advisory Committee, School District, Park District, adjacent townships, the development community, and community residents was appointed by the City Commission to provide representative community feedback during the development of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

The comprehensive planning process provided a number of opportunities for public engagement with community leaders, stakeholders and citizens.  A steering committee which represented a broad range of community interests met a number of times.  The committee guided the study process and provided critical input into all elements of plan development.  A web page was developed to allow community members and interested persons access to the planning process.  Two community events sponsored by the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce were attended and information placed in the Chamber newsletter to gather input into the planning process and educate community businesses and residents about the process.  A community input meeting was held with a number of interactive poster boards set up to help solicit input on a range of community issues.  An online survey was developed to gather input on a range of topics.  Seven focus group meetings were organized to gather input and assist in the formulation of key elements of the plan development.  Finally, a community open house was held to share the elements of the draft Comprehensive Plan, and comments received were integrated into the planning process prior to the City holding formal hearings for plan adoption.