Community input session to be held Feb. 19, 2019

    With legal counsel reviewing the language and concluding it looks like it’s good to go, the City of Crookston Planning Commission is targeting its Feb. 19, 2019 meeting for a community input session on the proposed establishment of a “gateway overlay district” at several high-profile entrance corridors to Crookston.

    The potential establishment of such a district in Crookston has been in the works for more than a year, led by City Building Official Matt Johnson. The purpose of the ordinance would be to create a consistent look among properties located along corridors into the community that would make a positive impression with passers-by, mostly in the form of vehicle traffic.

    A gateway overlay district isn’t meant to require immediate property upgrades or improvements by property owners located within its boundaries. Instead, its impact is designed to increase over time, as properties change hands or the primary purposes of various properties are changed. In those events, the ordinance language is meant to produce results in the form of properties that have a consistent, nice feel and appearance to them. In the shorter term, ideally, the thinking behind a gateway overlay district is somewhat rooted in peer pressure, in that if several properties along a corridor located within a district look nice and pleasing, a property owner who owns a parcel that is in need of aesthetic improvements will feel compelled to make positive changes, even if the ordinance doesn’t require immediate action.

    Corridors/entrances to Crookston being eyed for the establishment of gateway overlay districts include East Robert Street from Polk County Highway 214 to Ash Street; University Avenue, to West Sixth Street, to North Main Street; eastbound and westbound Fisher Avenue; Fairfax Avenue; Third Avenue South, Third Avenue Southwest and Old Highway 75 from Highway 75 to South Main; and, Highway 75 from 290th Street Southwest to Polk County Highway 233/Marin Avenue.

    Properties and structures partially or located in their entirety within 150 feet of the right-of-way would be subject to the ordinance’s parameters. Single-family residences and their accessory structures would be exempt.

    Johnson said a few weeks prior to the Feb. 19 commission meeting, notices will be sent to businesses located within the proposed, impacted corridors to alert them to the community input session, explain the concept of a gateway overlay district, and it would function in Crookston if adopted.