City Detail

Background Information

City of Forest Lake
County: Washington
Population: 19618
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 52
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Aaron Parrish
City Staff
651-209-9750
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 1 ( )

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: 3
2 star actions: 1
3 star actions: 2

Land Use Land Use

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

3 star - Action 2:

Locate or lease a school, city building or other government facility that has at least two of these attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The Hardwood Creek Library/Washington County Service Center (Library/Service Center) is adjacent to both an existing employment and residential center. The facility is within .25 mi of 150 jobs (YMCA, an animal hospital, and the facility itself). Moreover, the service center is adjacent to three high density, multi-tenant buildings: 1) Two 36-unit, workforce housing available to residents who earn 60% of area median income; 2)One 70-unit, community for residents 55 and older.

The Library/Service Center is designed to facilitate and strongly encourage access by walking and biking. It is located within .5 mi of 4.4 mi of sidewalks and trails with direct connections and close proximity (500 ft) to Hardwood Creek/Sunrise Prairie Regional Trail (a 31.5 mile, multi-use trail that connects 60,500 residents in 9 communities). Not to mention, plenty of bike racks are onsite for cyclists.

Finally, the Library/Service Center is accessible by regular transit service, sitting adjacent to the Forest Lake Transit Center. At this location, visitors are able to access Metro Transit Express lines and Jefferson Coach lines. Metro Transit lines provide daily service to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Combined, the two routes complete 14 one-way trips, five days a week. To complement, Jefferson lines regularly schedule coach services to dozens of cities in 12 other states. All destinations are reachable from the Forest Lake Transit Center.
Outcome measures/metrics:
1) Future development of more high-density residential area, nearby
2) Addition of nearby businesses and employment
3) Increased public transportation and accessibility
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matt Lindholm (City staff) | matt.lindholm@ci.forest-lake.mn.us | 651-209-9731

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Urban Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

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 City of Forest Lake implemented a woodland preservation ordinance in accordance with Forest Lake’s zoning code, that identifies that the value of natural resources, specifically the local forests and trees for community health and future sustainability. The City strongly encourages a practical yet innovative approach to growth, redevelopment, and the alteration of significant trees and/or woodlands. Likewise, the City acknowledges some loss of trees and woodlands can be an unavoidable result of land development and natural health trends.

The City Council concludes that this woodland preservation ordinance asserts the correct balance between private property rights and conservation of local flora and fauna. The woodland ordinance establishes regulations on landscape plans, tree surveys, and preservation thresholds per district, overlying preservation, replacement thresholds/monetary fees, and permitted tree removals.
Outcome measures/metrics:
(A) A Woodland Preservation Plan is required when the subject property is three acres or greater in size and: (1) Preliminary subdivision plan is required within Subdivision Regulation (2) A project is proposed for which a city grading permit is required by City Code and significant woodlands exist on-site; or (3) An application for a single-family residential building permit when significant woodlands exist on-site.
(B) All properties located within the Shoreland Overlay District must comply with provisions for vegetation alteration as required
(C) City Code incorporate restrictive threshold per zoning district
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matt Lindholm (City staff) | matt.lindholm@ci.forest-lake.mn.us | 651-209-9731

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

3 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:
a) 97.01% of Forest Lake's residents live within one-half mile of a park or green space.
b) The City owns 251+ acres of dedicated parkland, represented by 23 parks (12.8 parks per 1,000 residents)
Outcome measures/metrics:
a) Require park dedication of new residential development (land or monetary).
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matt Lindholm (City staff) | matt.lindholm@ci.forest-lake.mn.us | 651-209-9731