Rochester, and Olmsted county were early adopters of urban growth boundaries, and protecting natural resources. The county adopted their first land use plan in 1979. This laid a strong foundation of protection for Rochester and the surrounding cities and communities of Olmsted County.
"The 1978 Plan had four major themes guiding the development of the Plan map and
the various implementation strategies, including
• concentrating development,
• protecting agriculture,
• protecting the natural environment, and
• providing for a wide range of choice in residential location"
The Plan was revised in 1995 and set more goals
"Wisely use the energy resources, urban systems, and land area of Olmsted County
by concentrating urban and suburban development and by creating an orderly
pattern of development (sustainable and efficient). 2. Encourage practices and technologies that maximize efficiency of resource use and
minimize waste (sustainable, habitable, and efficient). 3. Preserve the natural and cultural resources that provide a “sense of place” for the
county (beautiful and sustainable). 4. Ensure that growth pays for itself; incorporate long-term costs and benefits into the
community decision-making process (sustainable, competitive, equitable, and
efficient). 5. Conserve and restore natural resources, including agricultural resources, and
protect the ecological systems of the natural environment and economic uses of
those resources (sustainable, habitable, and competitive). 6. Encourage the development of affordable housing and provide for a reasonable
range of choice in housing and lifestyles (habitable and equitable). 7. Encourage the creation of economic opportunities in an equitable fashion for all
citizens (competitive and equitable).8. Seek methods for implementing community policy that are cost-effective, that link
costs to benefitting properties, and that accomplish public goals while
accommodating private interests (competitive, efficient, and accessible).9. Cooperate with local jurisdictions within and adjacent to Olmsted County in the
development and implementation of the Plan (accessible).10. Respond to land use and resource management issues in a flexible and proactive
way (accessible and efficient). 11. Sustainable communities (sustainable and efficient)"
The plan has very effectively and consciously marked areas for urban service, suburban development, and resource protection areas.