Comprehensive Plan

In May 2016, the County Board authorized staff and the County Planning Commission to prepare an update to the Comprehensive Plan. The policies of this Plan provide specific direction about future decisions on physical development and growth while allowing flexibility for the County to adapt to changing conditions. Chisago County continues to be at a critical point in terms of growth and must continue to identify and implement ways in which the growth can best be managed in the future. The current version of the Comprehensive Plan was approved by the Chisago County Board of Commissioners on September 20, 2017.

2017 Chisago County Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is essential in meeting the challenges of today’s demand for the public’s expectations for public services in Chisago County. The County cannot haphazardly plan for its future (including housing, transportation, parks and trails, economic development, public safety and resilience) while meeting the needs of the County. With limited financial resources, decreasing land suitable for development and parks, changing trends in land use, recreation, demographics and population and population growth, Chisago County must carefully plan for their future by accommodating the needs of their constituents. The 2016-2026 Comprehensive Plan describes many of the choices Chisago County has made for how it will develop through at least the next ten years. This plan supports a development pattern that, as much as practicable, meets the current needs without environmental, economic and social burdens on future generations. The County is committed to maintaining or enhancing economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment upon which people and economies depend.

The 2016-2026 Comprehensive Plan is an official document adopted by the County Board as the primary policy guide for decisions about the physical development of the County. The Plan sets broad policies and strategies to direct the future growth and development in the areas of land use, transportation, parks and trails, housing, natural resources, historic and cultural resources and public facilities. The Comprehensive Plan is the legal basis for the County-adoption of land use controls.

There are ten cities and nine townships in Chisago County. The County land use planning authority includes all of the unincorporated areas in the County, except Lent Township, which has adopted its own Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulations. Participation by townships is a critical part of the planning process, since establishing a sound direction for future development in the townships is the primary purpose of this Plan. It also is the intent of the County Board to implement a Comprehensive Plan that reflects the values and goals of the majority of residents of the County.

The Comprehensive Plan is the primary land use vision and policy document intending to guide land use and development decisions of Chisago County. The Plan also is used to ensure consistency in the development of infrastructure and resource planning. This plan provides a framework for how the County and its citizens will guide growth, land uses and development in the County over the next twenty to thirty years. The Comprehensive Plan provides citizens and others with a certain amount of predictability about how development may occur in Chisago County. It is the intent of the Chisago County Board of Commissioners that this Plan be viewed as the primary growth management tool for the County. This Comprehensive Plan is intended to be flexible so it can respond to changing conditions, yet static enough so long-term land use and related policies are consistent and maintained and so careless and ad hoc decision making is avoided.

There are several important questions, trends, issues and desired outcomes that the Comprehensive Plan process has explored. These will help define Chisago County in the future and included:

  • What will be the population of Chisago County in 2020, 2030 and 2040?
  • How fast will the population grow or decline in the future?
  • Will the growth or decline be uniform across the County or will changes be focused in certain locations?
  • What are and will be household characteristics and size?
  • What other demographic changes and trends will the County experience?
  • What will the impacts be of population changes on the:
  • County’s economy?
  • On housing?
  • On land use?
  • On employers and employment conditions?
  • On local governments and the services they provide?