Public input session to be scheduled, likely in the fall, before any commission vote

    Crookston is getting closer to the establishment of a gateway overlay district and the main entrance arteries to town. The ordinance language, requirements and parameters wouldn’t require immediate conformity from property owners located in the district with various criteria related to a positive appearance, consistent design, signage, architecture and landscaping. But, over time, as properties change ownership or use and there’s the potential that the properties would continue to be non-conforming, the parameters of the gateway overlay district would become a requirement. So, the thinking by ordinance proponents is that, eventually over the long-term, the overall appearance of properties along the busiest entrances to Crookston will be enhanced.

    Members of the City Planning Commission this week got their first glimpse of a draft gateway overlay district ordinance. Commissioners will spend the next month reviewing it, Building Official Matt Johnson said, and they’re also going to make a concerted effort to drive the gateways to “get a feel for what we are looking to accomplish.”

    The timeline as of now would be to revisit the draft ordinance when the commission meets next in September, then send it to legal counsel for review. Johnson said the commission’s subsequent meeting would likely feature a public input meeting to get feedback on how the community feels about the gateway overlay district, answer questions and address concerns.

    Crookston’s gateway overlay districts include, in the draft ordinance, the following:

    • East Robert Street from County Road 214 to Ash Street
    • 6th Street West from North Main Street to University Avenue
    • University Avenue
    • West Fisher Avenue
    • East Fisher Avenue
    • Fairfax Avenue
    • 3rd Avenue South
    • 3rd Avenue Southwest
    • US Highway 75 from 290th Street Southwest to County Road 233/Marin Avenue
    • Old Highway 75 from US Highway 75 to South Main Street

    All structures within 150 feet of either side of the right-of-way would be subject to compliance with the districts’ requirements.

    Prohibited uses within a gateway overlay district include adult-oriented businesses, transmission towers and structures, prefabricated/modular home sales and accessory structure sales, and salvage/junk yards.

    City Administrator Shannon Stassen says he likes how the ordinance is coming together, and said Johnson and the commission have been and continue to be committed to making sure the gateway overlay district is as good as it can be before it’s considered for adoption.

    “The group has taken a deliberate and cautious approach while crafting the language,” Stassen said.

    Assuming the commission at some point approves the establishment of a gateway overlay district in Crookston, it would be sent to the city council for consideration.