The Forest Economic Development Association (FEDA) offers resources on their website.
The Rice County website dedicates a page to Comprehensive Plan information.
See some sample letters from residents regarding the Comprehensive Plan.
A suggested list of talking points may be found on the FEDA website at https://fedainfo.org/news-and-resources
See below for additional talking points regarding the Industrial Zone designation in Comprehensive Plan proposal.
See Commissioner Candidate Responses on the FEDA website.
The County is accepting input on the proposed Industrial Zone location through the end of October. Write your email to CompPlanInput@co.rice.mn.us and request that the Industrial Zone be removed pending a reasonable study.
The 2040 Comprehensive Plan process began in 2015 and has languished until now. It does not include any changes that have occurred in the past five years.
Now is not a good time to bring forward a significant, complex planning process because people have other things on their minds and will not engage to the extent they would in safer, calmer circumstances.
Only one-tenth of one percent of the population participated in the initial meetings on the planning process, which means more than 99% of the population were not heard. Also, none of the people who have moved to Rice County during the past five years have had input.
The Plan describes factors that should be used to search for appropriate industrial sites. Inexplicably, without comment or rationale, a massive industrial zone is shown on the accompanying map abutting several townships including Forest, Bridgewater, Webster, and Wells.
The industrial zone that surprisingly appears on the map, has no sewer and water services, which may be one of the reasons that the previous Highway – Commercial failed to attract development.
The Plan suggests using vacant or underutilized land for industrial zoning rather than designating additional lands. However, the area shown on the map is not vacant or underutilized. It is prime farmland, forests, creeks, and lakes.
A goal stated in the Plan is to protect agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas. However, the inexplicable placement of the huge industrial zone on the map is comprised of both agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas (compromised creeks, lake shore, and wildlife).
The Plan seeks to maintain the County’s “rural character and agricultural heritage which sets it apart from the nearby metropolitan areas,” yet the monolithic industrial area shown on the map is along the gateway to the County and would destroy attempts to display rural character and agricultural heritage to visitors arriving along I-35.
Neither the Plan nor the County ordinances define a Commercial Industrial zone; yet, extrapolating from the Limited Industrial zone, undesirable uses including adult entertainment would be permitted.
Rice County should deploy effective means of eliciting input and revise the Plan accordingly.
The Industrial zone on the map should be removed pending a study performed by an environmental design and engineering firm to determine what types of development would be feasible, economically viable, safe, and compatible with existing land use.