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GreenStep City Best Practices Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans
no. 6

Build public support and legal validity to long-term infrastructural and regulatory strategy.
  Best Practice Action 5      [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]       [all actions]

Adopt climate mitigation and/or energy independence goals and objectives in the comprehensive plan or in a separate policy document, and include transportation recommendations such as becoming an EV-ready city.

  • Energy generation and use affect a community’s character, economic vitality, and environmental footprint. Planning for local energy resources, infrastructure, and energy-related development is essential to achieving community goals for growth, change, development, and global climate change. See energy planning resources from the Regional Indicators Initiative that include an energy planning guide and workbook, sample RFP language to use in selecting a planning consultant, and a solar energy availability calculator. Also see How to Set Renewable Electricity Goals that Align with Community Priorities (GPI: 2018).
  • Note that in the 7-country metropolitan area, cities are required by the Legislature each 10 years to develop and submit to the Metropolitan Council a land use plan that contains an energy infrastructure element for protection and development of access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.
  • As of October 2018, 25 GreenStep Cities have committed to clean energy goals and/or policies and are engaged in energy planning and action. See Energy Planning Stories for detailed goals and links to city documents.
  • Cities have tremendous influence over how and where infrastructure is built and serve as a critical and necessary partner in the market transformation effort to make electric vehicles a significant part of Minnesota’s passenger car fleet. In its comp plan, cities can adopt EV language in the areas of policy, regulation, capital improvements, administration, programs and leadership that put the city on a path to become a EV-ready city with up to seven specific actions as detailed in Sustainable Jersey's guidance on the EV-friendly city.
  • The Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: 2017) quickly allows a city to score their energy efficiency (and cost-saving, GHG-cutting) efforts by evaluating locally-enacted programs and policies across local government operations, community-wide initiatives, building policies, energy and water utility policies, and transportation policies. The tool introduces communities to innovative energy practices that have been implemented and proven successful in small communities, and provides actionable guidance on which metrics to target to improve energy efficiency performance.
  • Minnesota and Climate Change (MN Environmental Quality Board) briefly summarizes the science and economics of climate change and benefits of proactice responses to it. See also the MN Pollution Control Agency's resources on community resilience to climate change.
Specify numeric targets (reductions in energy usage, GHG emissions) and target dates for at least city operations (for example, Massachusetts challenges cities to reduce energy use 20% within 5 years); adopt infrastructure resiliency goals; include EV charging stations as a permitted accessory use in select or all zoning districts. Report stand-alone sustainability plans under action 24.5; report stand-alone climate adaptation/resilience plans under action 29.2
Become an EV-ready city, address climate protection in the private sector by, for example, establishing policies with numerical targets to reduce vehicle miles traveled, or setting a percentage renewable energy generation target for the entire city, such as a "25 by 25" goal (generating 25% of a city's electricity, heating and/or transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025).
Adopt an agressive goal, such as the Rochester, MN mayoral goal of carbon-free by 2031; adopt social resiliency goals around education (STEM curriculum), population mix (retention of millennials, racial/income diversity).

Grand Marais

Date action report first entered:   11/04/2015
Date of last report update:   11/04/2015

Implementation details:
City/County Joint Energy Plan - Creation of a joint City and the County Energy Plan. In the summer of 2010, the Cook County Board, the City of Grand Marais, and the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), formed a partnership to develop an Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Plan (ECRE Plan) that would pertain to both the City and the County. The purpose of this project was to better prepare our community for the challenges of a rapidly changing energy environment, and to be better able to take advantage of opportunities inherent in those challenges. The finished Plan was adopted by both the City and the County in 2012. The Plan began by creating a database of baseline energy information and by soliciting public input about energy issues facing the governments, residents and businesses of Cook County and Grand Marais. The Plan included assessments of use and recommendations for improvements in both the public and private sector. The planning process engaged stakeholders throughout the county: •A telephone survey of full-time residents, seasonal residents, and businesses. •Collecting anecdotal information from a survey posted on the CCLEP website and e-mailed to a list of residents known to be interested in energy. •Interviews in which residents are invited to comment on the Energy Plan development process. •Energy Summits in which the process to develop The Energy Plan is presented and discussed. •Issuance of Press Releases have been sent to the Cook County News Herald, WTIP and posted on Boreal. •A printed copy made available at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Descriptive links: http://www.cookcountylocalenergy.org/energy-plan

For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor)   |   shane.w.steele@gmail.com   |   507-884-5790

Cook County Board; Cook County Local Energy Project (GGLEP)

View All Grand Marais Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/20/2012
Date of last report update:   04/24/2015

Implementation details:
The Maplewood 2030 Comprehensive plan has sustainability goals that the city want to reach to decrease their carbon footprint.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1547

For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff)   |   shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2304

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/09/2011
Date of last report update:   12/14/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In it's 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update, the City of Oakdale adopted the following goal: Consistent with State-wide goals, reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2025, and 80% by 2050 from 2007 levels in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the community.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.oakdale.mn.us/489/2040-Comprehensive-Plan-Update

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

View All Oakdale Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/31/2018
Date of last report update:   01/31/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Bloomington is currently developing a Partners in Energy Action Plan, in partnership with Xcel Energy. The draft plan has been developed and will be reviewed by the Sustainability Commission in March 2018 and City Council in March or April of 2018. The draft plan has clear goals to reduce electrical, gas and transportation emissions; the goals are in the categories of municipal, commercial, residential and transportation.

For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff)   |   sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov   |   952-563-4606

View All Bloomington Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/04/2012

Implementation details:
As measured from the 2009 Burnsville City Operations emissions level of 23,487 tonnes, the City of Burnsville will reduce GHG emissions associated with City operations to below 2009 levels by the end of 2011. Recognizing Burnsville's Next Generation Act obligations, the City will continue to reduce emissions from the baseline by an average annual reduction of 4% (measured over the span of a decade), after indexing emissions to growth in number of City employees relative to the rest of the state. The City has several implementation strategies directly linked to this goal, as seen in the attached Sustainability Plan starting on p.3.

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For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/09/2013

Implementation details:
Comprehensive Plan Chapter 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 includes carbon reduction goals.

Descriptive links: http://edinamn.gov/edinafiles/files/City_Offices/Community_Development/Planning/Comprehensive_Plan/ComprehensivePlanCh10(1).pdf

For more information contact:
Tara Brown (City staff)   |   tbrown@edinamn.gov   |   952-826-1621

View All Edina Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/20/2015
Date of last report update:   04/24/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The newly updated Comprehensive Plan ( approved in 2016) includes goals of reducing the city's carbon footprint, actively pursuing alternative energy productions, adopting ordinances and policies to provide incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy and reductions in greenhouse gases.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Reducing the city's carbon footprint.

Descriptive links: http://www.sartellmn.com/Websites/sartellmn/images/9%20Sustainablity%20Final.pdf

For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff)   |   nate.keller@sartellmn.com   |   320-258-7316

View All Sartell Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/17/2011

Implementation details:
Rochester has adopted ambitious energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The first step, a baseline inventory of energy consumption, is in progress. While that is going on, Rochester has embarked on a Neighborhood Energy Challenge program (see http://www.rpu.org/your_home/power_services/neighborhood_energy_challenge/Default.htm)

Outcome measures/metrics:
Metrics will be developed as part of the baseline inventory project.

Descriptive links: http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/attorney/ordinances/ORD19A.pdf

For more information contact:
Tony Benson (City staff)   |   tbenson@rpu.org   |   507-280-1534

View All Rochester Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   10/27/2014
Date of last report update:   10/27/2014

Implementation details:
The City’s Climate protection/adaptation goals and objectives are embedded in all sections of the comprehensive plan.

Descriptive links: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=3427

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions

Austin pending

Date action report first entered:   04/03/2012

Implementation details:
Have adopted MN State Energy Code, this code is a section of the MN State Building Code & is adopted by City Council

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

Craig Hoium; Building Codes Division

View All Austin Actions

Elko New Market pending

Date action report first entered:   12/25/2015
Date of last report update:   04/30/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Please see the City's "Orderly Annexation Agreement", for numeric targets, target dates and infrastructure resiliency goals. The City has applied for EV grants to set up recharging stations for electric vehicles, but has not been successfully in receiving one.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.enm.mn.us

For more information contact:
Mark Nagel (City staff)   |   mnagel@ci.enm.mn.us   |   952-461-2777

View All Elko New Market Actions

Morris pending

Date action report first entered:   04/22/2019
Date of last report update:   04/22/2019
Year action initially completed:   2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In October 2018, the Morris Model team held a planning retreat at Camp Ripley with members of the Morris community from the City, the County, DENCO II, Superior Industries, Riverview Dairy LLC, the USDA Soils Lab, West Central Research and Outreach, UMM, the MAS School Board, and Ottertail Power Company. Over the course of the 2 day retreat, these community members were educated about the current state of energy usage and sustainability efforts in Morris, and they were able to give some input about what sustainability goals they'd like to see met in the near future. In January 2019, a Strategic Plan was released with aggressive sustainability goals. The plan contains our overarching "Big 3" goals: to produce 80% of the energy used IN our community BY our community, reducing our energy consumption by at least 30% by 2030, and ending the land-filling of waste in our community by 2025. It also contains goals for each of our community partners including the City, the County, the schools and University, and each of the various industrial businesses. The goals for partner organizations are based on 4 goal areas that were determined prior to the retreat, including energy, transportation, waste reduction and recycling, and education. In addition to goals, our strategic plan also set forth an updated list of 100 projects to work toward the goals, which has been dubbed "The Morris Model 100". Our strategic plan has been adopted and ratified by Morris's City Council and UMM, and it is being presented to the MAS School Board, Stevens County, and the various industrial entities of the Morris community for ratification by or before June 1, 2019.

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For more information contact:
Blaine Hill (City staff)   |   bhill@ci.morris.mn.us   |   320-589-3141

UMN-Morris, WCROC, USDA Soils Lab, Stevens County, Morris Area Schools, DENCO II, Riverview Dairy LLC, Superior Industries, Ottertail Power Company

View All Morris Actions

New Brighton pending

Date action report first entered:   05/03/2016
Date of last report update:   05/03/2016

Implementation details:
The City is just beginning its next cycle of Comprehensive Planning and intends to include additional Comprehensive Plan elements and policies in the areas of sustainability, resiliency and energy independence goals.

For more information contact:
Craig Schlichting (City staff)   |   craig.schlichting@newbrightonmn.gov   |   651-638-2056

View All New Brighton Actions

Red Wing pending

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The Comprehensive Plan has established broad energy independence goals that need to be further refined. The city has 5 buildings with plans to have solar energy installed with funding from Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards program and Minnesota Made Rebate Program. Applications were sent to Xcel in May of 2012 - 3 of 5 have been approved - working on the last two. Also, the Sustainability Commission is working on updates to the City Zoning code related to renewable energy sources including solar and wind. (http://www.red-wing.org/comprehensiveplan.html)

Descriptive links: http://www.red-wing.org/comprehensiveplan.html

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

View All Red Wing Actions

Richfield pending

Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   03/01/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
City participates in the Regional Indicators Initiative, which prepared a citywide, carbon baseline assessments for 2008-2013.

For more information contact:
Amy Markle (City staff)   |   amarkle@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619394

View All Richfield Actions

Rosemount pending

Date action report first entered:   03/07/2012

Implementation details:
Rosemount has signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Program. Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to take following three actions: - Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns; - Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and - Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system

Descriptive links: http://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/agreement.htm

For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff)   |   anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us   |   651-322-2090

U.S. Conference of Mayors

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Shoreview pending

Date action report first entered:   04/25/2013
Date of last report update:   01/31/2019
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The Comprehensive Plan has the following goals: 1. Incorporate sustainable practices and green building within the City of Shoreview’s local governmental organization. 2. Advance sustainability and green building within the development community, among residents and local businesses. 3. Promote the use of renewable sources of energy.

Descriptive links: https://www.shoreviewmn.gov/home/showdocument?id=1654

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions

Woodbury pending

Date action report first entered:   04/23/2013

Implementation details:
The city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan addresses sustainability in every chapter. One of the implementation action items and initiatives is to develop a climate action plan to serve as a guide as the city moves forward with its goal of reducing carbon emissions related to climate change (page 13-5). City staff is currently working on a sustainability audit of city properties, buildings, services and operations. The audit will select indicators, collect baseline data, determine goals and establish a schedule for periodic audits to assess progress.

For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff)   |   jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3522

View All Woodbury Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Suzanne Rhees, AICP, Conservation Projects Coordinator, MN Board of Water and Soil Resources: 651/296-0768, suzanne.rhees@state.mn.us