City Detail

Background Information

City of Belle Plaine
County: Scott
Population: 6661
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 40
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Laura Blue
City Staff
952-873-5553
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 3 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 28
1 star actions: 14
2 star actions: 9
3 star actions: 5

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

1 star - Action 1:

Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Building descriptions and background information for seven city facilities (i.e. ambulance facility, WWTP, City hall, fire station, library, police station, and public works facility) have been entered into the B3 Benchmarking database. Monthly water use and energy data has been collated and will be entered shortly.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
3 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine signed an agreement with Energy Surety Partners to replace a majority of lighting in city buildings with LED lights. It is estimated that the city will save 160,895 KWh of energy per year at a savings of $8,738 to the city per year.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The measurements for this project will be the reduction of electrical usage on city electric bills
Descriptive File: view file
Energy Surety Partners
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 4:

Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Belle Plaine power management settings are controlled by the systems administrator. Individual network users are not able to adjust their computer systems. Computer displays enter shut down after five (battery) or 15 (plugged in) of inactivity. Computers automatically enter sleep mode after 20 minutes of inactivity Multi-function devices are energy star rated and default to display shutdown after five minutes of inactivity. City hall has customized HVAC operation schedule. HVAC system is routinely inspected and maintained.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations to encourage adaptive reuse.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has adopted code that provides design guidelines to preserve the historic central business district.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
1 star - Action 5:

Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has placed urban design requirements into effect through long-range planning documents (2040 Comprehensive Plan Update required for submittal to Metropolitan Council by end of year) and local controls including the zoning code. Within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, local controls must be updated for consistency with comprehensive plans. The zoning code provides for mixed uses as a right within several zoning classifications and provides for mixed uses on a contract-type basis through a planned unit development. In addition the City has developed a "Design Manual" which focuses specifically on commercial nodes and corridors. The City has orderly annexation agreements (OAA) in place with Blakeley and Belle Plaine Townships. Combined the area subject to OAA is coterminous with the City's municipal urban service area (MUSA) as contained in the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan includes staging plans supported by a capital improvement plan.
Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2015 the City authorized a mixed commercial and residential planned unit development consisting of 23,000 sf of commercial (health-related) uses attached to 55 units of senior living. The City is currently reviewing a mixed density residential PUD (at general PUD plan/preliminary plat stage of review.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City is completing its 2040 Comprehensive Plan entitled "Destination 2040". The Plan is currently under review. The Plan is an update of the 2030 Belle Plaine Comprehensive Plan. 'Destination' is consistent with "Thrive" the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council's regional planning document and associated TCMC system elements: housing, transportation, water resources, parks, etc. 'Destination' includes a physical profile which addresses energy resources, natural resources, cultural resources, water resources, and demographic resources. The physical profile includes specific and measurable goals and objectives. GIS maps add clarity and depth to the profile and include: topography, blufflands, vegetative cover, floodplain/shoreland, protected waters, cultural resources, groundwater sensitivity, soils, and a compilation map highlighting preservation priorities. 'Destinations' land use plan includes map/discussion of areas of stability, revitalization/reinvestment, and change. Land use goals and objectives include robust discussion of infill/redevelopment. 'Destinations' implementation element includes a five year capital improvement plan.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The implementation element of 'Destination' includes an action agenda.
Descriptive File: view file
Metropolitan Council, Scott County, SRF, Bolton-Menk
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City Zoning Ordinance Directly states the relationship to the comprehensive plan as follows: 1100.03 RELATION TO COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.
It is the policy of the City of Belle Plaine that the enforcement, amendment and administration of this Ordinance be accomplished with due consideration of the recommendations contained in the City Comprehensive Plan as developed and amended from time to time by the Planning Commission, City Council and Metropolitan
Council. The Council recognizes the City Comprehensive Plan as the policy for the
responsibility to regulate land use and development in accordance with the policies and
purpose herein set forth.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
1 star - Action 3:

Include requirements in comprehensive and/or other plans for intergovernmental coordination addressing regional land use and watershed / wellhead impacts, infrastructure, transportation, economic development and city/regional services.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine is within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and subject to regional planning standards. As such the City has placed a comprehensive plan in effect and updates the document every ten years per TCMC requirements. The link provided accesses the City's 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The City's draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan (Destination 2040) is under review at this time and expected to be placed into effect in late 2018 or early 2019. The Plan includes the following plan elements: (a) demographic and physical profiles, (b) community health, wellness and resilience, (c) land use, (d) housing, (e) transportation, (f) parks, trails, and recreation, (g) economic competitiveness, (h) water resources/utilities, (i) surface water management, and (j) implementation. The plan is reviewed by adjacent local jurisdictions and Scott County. Numerous standards involve intergovernmental coordination from surface water management (Scott County WMO)to transportation (joint transportation modeling effort, i.e. cost sharing; also -intergovernmental coordination of construction - i.e. Enterprise Drive Overpass included participation by TCMC, Scott County & MnDOT. Housing and economic development components include coordination and programming and resource access goals in collaboration with County and State resource providers. Community resilience highlights Scott County all hazard mitigation plan, a broad-based wholly integrated, multi-jurisdictional plan.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The implementation plan contains an 'action agenda' consisting of measurable actions prioritized by short, medium, or long term objective.
Descriptive File:
TCMC, Scott County, SRF, Bolton-Menk, BP Schools, BP Township, Blakeley Twp
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

3 star - Action 5:

Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine allows many commercial uses with in the Central Business District Zone. The CBD also allows residential uses within the same building as a commercial use as a conditional use.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Design for Natural Resource Conservation {BP no.10}

3 star - Action 6:

Conserve natural, cultural, historic resources by adopting or amending city codes and ordinances to support sustainable sites, including roadsides, and environmentally protective land use development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has adopted code which is designed to ensure that sensitive physical features such as bluff land, ravines, wetlands and natural waterways are protected.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Transportation Transportation

Living Streets {BP no.11}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine's Current Comprehensive plan approved in 2009, has guidance regarding the construction of trails in conjunction with certain types of roadways to allow for multi-modal transportation within the city. This guidance can be found in Chapter 7 page 7. The Comprehensive Plan of 2009 also outlines pathway standards in Chapter 8 starting on page 9. The comprehensive plan also contains a Greenway Trail Plan.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 4:

Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City has mapped existing trails and sidewalks, evaluated deficiencies and mapped future sidewalk and trail routes. A map of existing and future trails and sidewalks is available for review.The attached map is included in the 2040 Comp Plan update which analyzes walkability and system gaps. The transportation plan element of the comprehensive plan illustrates points of congestion and roadway gaps. The City, Scott County, TCMC, and MnDOT joined forces to design, plan, and construct Enterprise Drive overpass which functions as a second grade separated interchange with Hwy 169 and CSAH 3. Post construction analysis points to a decrease of miles traveled by local a local bussing company of 100 miles per school day and an estimated reduction of nearly 13 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 5:

Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City worked with regional partners to provide a critical roadway link in the southern portion of the City (Enterprise Drive Overpass) providing a second functioning connection between primarily residential areas south of Hwy 169 with business services and school facilities north of the Highway. Post construction the Park Board noted school children were creating their own 'path' in the vicinity of the overpass attempting to get from their homes to trails/sidewalks installed with the overpass. The City identified a half mile segment of off-road trail and constructed the facility in the CSAH 3 boulevard.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
Bolton-Menk, Scott County
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Staff have drafted an energy use and waste reduction & recycling policy based on model policies from other GreenStep cities. The draft policy is under departmental review and will be forwarded to a Council worksession for discussion shortly. In addition, packets are distributed electronically. Packet for appointed boards, committees, and commissions are only printed upon request of individual appointees. The City is reviewing updates to the Council Chambers which include proposed technology updates which includes acquisition of tablets for use at the diaz. The updates are proposed for 2018.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
1 star - Action 7:

Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Packets for appointed boards, committees, and commissions are distributed electronically and are only printed upon request of individual appointees. The City is reviewing updates to the Council Chambers which include proposed technology updates which includes acquisition of tablets for use at the diaz. The Council Chambers updates are proposed for 2018. Additionally, the City hosts an annual recycling day event in April. Residents are allowed to bring electronics, appliances, tires, aluminum, metal, etc. to the one-day event for recycling. Additional information is available upon request.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Urban Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

1 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has been designated Tree City USA for over 18 years.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 5:

Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The preservation and replacement of trees is covered under Chapter 11 of City Code. The City requires a 1:1 ratio for tree replacement in development of a building site.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

3 star - Action 2:

Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine requires a review of any subdivision of property to be reviewed by the park board to determine the location, size and type of park improvements and sidewalk/trail system proposed.

The City of Belle Plaine requires that ten (10) percent of the gross buildable land of all property being subdivided shall be dedicated for parks, playgrounds, trails, recreational areas, or public open space.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
1 star - Action 3:

Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine is proud of the fact that it can afford its residents access to open land, developed land and public areas such as parks, not available to many metro area communities. - According to the 2008 Comprehensive Plane the City of Belle Plaine has approximately 80 acres of property in parkland and Greenway/trail category. This equals at least 12 acres of park or green space per 1000 residents. Chapter 8 of the comprehensive plan is dedicated to parks, trails and recreation, so that we can maintain the open space into the future.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Surface Water {BP no.19}

1 star - Action 2:

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations around improving local water quality and quantity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine adopted a wellhead protection plan (Phase II) in December of 2015. In addition to identifying a DWSMA, the Phase II plan includes a discussion of issues, problems, and opportunities. The plan establishes goals and an action plan to achieve those goals. The action plan includes a public outreach and education component. An evaluation program is also specified.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
1 star - Action 4:

Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas; reduce flooding and costs through The National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has adopted code that is designed to protect natural resources such as Bluff Land, ravines, wetlands, and natural waterways.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1:

Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
At a regular meeting January 8, 2018 the Belle Plaine Planning Commission, with staff support, agreed to lead implementation of the City's draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan outcomes pertaining to livability, sustainability, and stewardship. The PC will be the lead committee overseeing and implementing GreenStep, Solsmart, and Mayor's Monarch Pledge action items.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
2 star - Action 5:

Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
"Destination 2040" the City of Belle Plaine's 2040 Comprehensive Plan update includes a community health, wellness, and resilience element (copy attached). The element was reviewed at several public meetings and by representatives from various City boards, committees, and commissions. The fundamental components of the plan element are weaved throughout other elements of the plan from land use to parks, trails, and recreation. The community health, wellness, and resilience element supports livability, stewardship, sustainability, social equity, and economic prosperity outcomes on which Destination 2040 is based.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

1 star - Action 1:

Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has links on its webpage to business assistance provided by Xcel Energy and MVEC (Minnesota Valley Electric Co-Op) both of which are energy providers within the City. Programs are designed to conserve energy and save operational costs. Information and programming includes rebates, energy audits & studies, and advice on energy efficient new/improved facilities. In addition the City has a link to the Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RECAP).
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
3 star - Action 7:

Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine supports a local farmers market held every Wednesday May through October at Court Square, a municipal park. The City allow park usage free of charge and also allows directional signage to be placed on public property. In addition to the farmers market, the City website links to the local Chamber of Commerce website. The Chamber has produced "Belle Plaine bucks" a 'local currency' used for buying locally. The Community Development Director attends Chamber board meetings and the Chamber/City have partnered in several projects, festivals, and events. The Chamber/EDA host an annual appreciation gala for local businesses. All items used for the gala are purchased locally. The event recognizes local businesses that have invested in the community and provides networking opportunities and fellowship.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine enacted an ordinance that creates a portion of the City Code related to the construction and establishment of wind and solar power generating systems.
Outcome measures/metrics:
This spring we anticipate the construction of a community solar garden on private property within city limits.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Local Food {BP no.27}

2 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine supports a local farmers market held every Wednesday May through October at Court Square, a municipal park. The City allow park usage free of charge and also allows directional signage to be placed on public property. Information about the market is posted on the City website.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

2 star - Action 1:

Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Scott County Emergency Management and several local jurisdictions, including the City of Belle Plaine, have created and updated an all hazards mitigation plan (link). The effort includes a multi-jurisdictional planning, participation, administration, and updating process. The scope includes natural and man-made hazards. Profiles of each hazard have been developed along with a vulnerability assessment and capability and hazard mitigation strategies. The plan includes a schedule for monitoring, evaluating, and updating. Various city departments (fire, police, public works, community development - building official) participate in emergency preparedness drills including severe weather drills. All City wells have back-up generator capabilities. The Police Department has used City Hall as an emergency shelter (large water main leak at an affordable senior apartment building which left it uninhabitable) and operations center (June 2014 flooding/mudslides) in the past.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553