This time around, Crookston City Council's vote is unanimous.
Reassured by City Attorney Stephen Larson that the Crookston City Council will be able to modify the Downtown Master Plan as it sees fit going forward, council members this week unanimously approved a resolution adopting the plan, after the council’s Ways & Means Committee last month approved its adoption on a 6-3 vote.
“It’s kind of a sub-set of your comprehensive plan,” Larson explained when Ward 6 Council Member Tom Vedbraaten sought assurances that the master plan isn’t going to tie the council to any specific actions relating to downtown in the future. “It’s a guide that you can amend at any time.”
The master plan, when projects or strategies are pursued that involve downtown, Larson explained, will more or less require the council to slow down while consulting the master plan to see if the project or strategy being considered is consistent with the plan. He used buying or selling a piece of land downtown as an example.
The City Planning Commission several weeks ago recommended council adoption of the Downtown Master Plan. If the council ever takes issue with something in the plan and wants to modify it, Larson said the matter would first have to go back to the commission for consideration. But since the commission is advisory in nature and the council isn’t bound by its recommendations and/or lack of a recommendation, the council in the end could vote as it chooses on modifying the Downtown Master Plan in the future.
The Downtown Master Plan, made possibly a grant secured by the Crookston Chamber and other partners, was crafted by JLG Architects after a process that involved gathering input from a committee, the community and the Downtown Crookston Development Partnership. Dating back to when the master plan was unveiled in the summer of 2017, some council members had questioned the actual purpose of the master plan, since it appears to contain some initiatives that the City doesn’t seem inclined to pursue downtown. Others have contended that downtown business owners weren’t given enough of an opportunity during the process to weigh in on the master plan.
Proponents of the Downtown Master Plan have countered by noting that having such a plan officially adopted and on the books looks good in the eyes of outside agencies that award grants that would benefit downtown.