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City to update comprehensive plan

The city of Perham will be updating its 20-year comprehensive plan, taking a close look at land use, zoning and recent and future economic development in town.

City councilors decided at a meeting last month to hire certified planner Ben Oleson, of Hometown Planning out of Alexandria, Minn., to help with the updates.

The plan was last reviewed 10 years ago; city leaders said it should be reviewed about every five years in order to stay current on growth and projected growth in the city.

Because of Perham’s “extreme growth” over the last decade, the plan has gotten really outdated, said Chuck Johnson of the Economic Development Authority. “The plan is no longer compatible with what has taken place.”

“It’s very critical that we get it updated,” added Dave Neisen, the city’s building official.

The interchange at Highways 10 and 34, for example, built in 2012, isn’t even on Perham’s comprehensive plan. And land use and zoning is overdue for a close look, to ensure that any future residential and industrial developments will be laid out in the best way possible.

In their discussion at the meeting, city leaders explained that the plan is not getting completely redone at this time; that would be a long and more expensive process. But the updates are needed now, they said, because in order to get any future expansions done, the newer additions and developments in the city need to be included in the plan.

Councilor Fred Lemkuhl said one thing that would be looked at closely is “where the next industrial park is going to go. Right now there’s not really any more room for another big operation to come into town.”

The 20-year comprehensive plan is not to be confused with the city’s 5-year capital improvement plan. While the comprehensive plan has a land use and zoning focus, the capital improvement plan looks more at infrastructure upgrades and major city projects. The city plans to update its capital improvement plan this coming spring.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa. 

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