City Detail

Background Information

City of North Branch
County: Chisago
Population: 10608
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 37
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Ragini Varma
City Staff
651-277-5228
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

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: 25
1 star actions: 3
2 star actions: 3

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:
The city will maintain the monthly energy data on an ongoing basis and 12 months of consecutive data has been entered.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228
1 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:
Currently 20% of all streelights are LED. Only one of the building uses 100% of LED. As City improves its practices it will continue to enforce LED throughout the City owned buildings.


Building-wide computer and office equipment power management software to go in sleep mode and also staff training to turn off all computer related equipment to be shut down and powered off when not being used.

City is committed to working towards conservation of energy throughout its building.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228
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:
City has continued implementing cloud based technology information systems for improving efficiency across departments promoting flexibility, mobility, accountability, accessibility, transparency, reliability and sustainability thus incorporating goal for 100% green and paperless in the next five years and reduction in energy usage.

Agenda/Minutes/Video Cloud Based System
Network Infrastructure Cloud Based System
Enterprise Applications Cloud Based System
- Storage/Email/Archive/Retention
- Multi-Functions Copiers
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

Pending - Action 4: Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City currently collaborates with MnDOT.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shawn Williams (City staff) | shawnw@ci.north-branch.mn.us | (651) 674-8493
Pending - Action 8: Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Currently 20% of City streetlights are LED.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shawn Williams (City staff) | shawnw@ci.north-branch.mn.us | (651) 674-8493

Land Use Land Use

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

2 star - Action 1: Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a 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:
City adopted its 2018 Comprehensive Plan incorporating sustainability and active living.The City is recognized as Shovel Ready and an Opportunity Zone.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff) | carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5227

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

Pending - Action 1: Organize or participate in a community planning/design process for the city/a mixed use district.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City participated and collaborated with the Minnesota Design Team in 2018. After successful completion of the MN Design Team visit in 2018, the City has continued towards implementing the ideas and strategies generated throughout the MN Design Team visit bringing residents, businesses and community together to be part of the change and development of City of North Branch
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Renae Fry (City staff) | renaef@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5229
Pending - 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:
North Branch Public Area Schools
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff) | carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5227
Pending - 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:
Current City's zoning code addresses such development. In 2019 City is working towards updating its entire zoning code.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff) | carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5227

Transportation Transportation

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

Pending - Action 1: Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of North Branch has over 232 acres of parkland at 19 sites for outdoor recreational enjoyment. In addition residents and visitors can utilize four (4) North Branch Area School District 138 site, a 9-hole North Branch Golf Course, Checkerboard County Park, and the Janet Johnson Wildlife Management Area.

The City also has 30 miles and sidewalks and is home to head of the Sunrise Prairie Trail that connects with the Hardwood Creek Trail in Washington County.


Below is a list of active park sites operated and maintained by the City of North Branch that are available for reservations.

Central Park - 6250 Main St
Playground Equipment, Gazebo, Basketball Court

Harder Park - 39260 Harder Pkwy
Shelter, Playground Equipment, (4) Ball fields, Disc Golf Course

North Branch Oaks Park - 5035 366th St
Playground Equipment

Northwood Park - 39581 Cherokee Ave
Shelter, Playground Equipment, Basketball Court, Tennis Court, Horseshoe Pits

Riverwalk Park - 39181 Forest Blvd
Shelter, Nature Trails

Roger Johnson Memorial Park - 6547 410th Street
Shelter, Playground Equipment, Ballfield, 2 Soccer Fields

Skateboard Park - 38175 Grand Ave

Tower Fields - 6211 Cougar Trl
Playground Equipment, 2 Ballfields

Wildridge Park - 4840 382nd Dr
Shelter, Playground Equipment, Basketball Court, Horseshoe Pits

Williams Park - 6400 379th St
Community Gardens
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226
Pending - Action 3: Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; ridesharing/cab services; rental cars; bikes.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Public Transit - Heartland Express

Responsibilities:

The Heartland Express is responsible for providing clean, on-time, reliable, safe, and efficient service. The Heartland Express is not responsible for items left on its vehicles. We are responsible for enforcing this service policy.

The Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express abides by all applicable federal, state and local regulations, and maintains an alcohol and drug-free workplace.

For safety reasons persons using a 3-wheel electric cart or (lark type chairs) will be requested to transfer to a bus seat. All wheelchairs have to fit on the bus lift properly.

The Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express reserves the right to refuse service to anyone who violates any of the standards.

Service:

The Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express is a public transportation service Opens a New Window. , which operates within the county borders. Both Chisago and Isanti counties are committed to providing safe, cost-effective transit service to anyone in either county who requests it. All vehicles are handicapped accessible.

We provide curb-to-curb service. Most passengers can request and be provided same day service, but reservations should be made by noon the working day before. The only limitations are to time constraints in scheduling and/or buses on route at any given time.

Civil Rights:

Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express operates its programs without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes he or she has been aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express by reviewing and completing the Chisago-Isanti County Heartland Express Title VI Complaint Procedure & Form Opens a New Window. .
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226
Pending - Action 5: Launch telework/flexwork efforts in city government, businesses or at a local health care provider.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City is moving towards cloud based systems to make telework possible. This provides for better efficiency and flexibility for employees.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

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:
100% paperless Agenda/Minutes/Video for all City Meetings through cloud based technology infrastructure implementation.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228

Urban Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

Pending - Action 5: Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City has an existing Tree ordinance.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff) | carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5227

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

Pending - Action 5: Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City currently has the following standards in place:

- Street & Utility Design Standards
- Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program
- Engineering Design Standard for Stormwater Management
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shawn Williams (City staff) | shawnw@ci.north-branch.mn.us | (651) 674-8493

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

Pending - Action 1: Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of North Branch has over 232 acres of parkland at 19 sites for outdoor recreational enjoyment. In addition residents and visitors can utilize four (4) North Branch Area School District 138 site, a 9-hole North Branch Golf Course, Checkerboard County Park, and the Janet Johnson Wildlife Management Area.

The City also has 30 miles and sidewalks and is home to head of the Sunrise Prairie Trail that connects with the Hardwood Creek Trail in Washington County.
Read more at http://www.ci.north-branch.mn.us/residents/parks/parks.php#rLeWkIlewbhJdH1I.99

The Parks Trails and Open Spaces Commission continuously advises and work with City on all of parks improvements.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226
Pending - Action 8: Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City works in collaboration with community members/associations/business such as North Branch Area Athletics, North Banch Area Community Education, Williams Parks Community Garden, Monarch Pollinators, Minnesota Design Team and others in providing hands on land restoration and stewarship projects.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

2 star - Action 1: Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer plants using standardized, free tools.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
MPCA recognizes North Branch wastewater facilities for operational excellence. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is recognizing 334 Minnesota wastewater treatment facilities for maintaining outstanding permit compliance from October 2017 through September 2018.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shawn Williams Publicworks Director (City staff) | shawnw@ci.north-branch.mn.us | (651) 674-8493

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

Pending - 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:
City;s Greenstep membership is made up of Mayor, two councilmembers and the City's GreenStep Coordinator to facilitatem coordinate and implement GreenSteo best practices.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228
Pending - Action 4: Conduct or support a broad sustainability education and action campaign involving:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Social media tool such as facebook will be used to conduct & support a broad sustainability education and action campaign.

Currently City has used social media facebook to promote annual recycling and compost and others. This will be futher expanded to other sustainability issues.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

Pending - Action 3: Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
City collaborate and support the efforts of The North Branch Beautification Association,

The Beautification Association, through its members, volunteers and other community organizations and businesses share the common purpose of beautifying as well as preserving the physical surroundings of North Branch. The value of beautification is clearly recognized as a major factor in attracting new residents, elevating tourism and sustaining the economy. Enhancing the "curb appeal" in our area by strategic plantings, banners, hanging baskets, memorial benches & trees as well as many other projects and enhancements will benefit us all!
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226
Pending - 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:
Council supports buy local campaign and encourges residents to buy local. With the help of Minnesota Design Team collaboration this will be developed further.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

Pending - Action 6: Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The 100 MW (AC) North Star Solar Project is located in Chisago County, Minnesota – approximately four miles southeast of North Branch, MN. The project connects to the grid at the Chisago Substation, a point of significant transmission infrastructure and strong electrical ties to Xcel Energy load. The North Star Solar Project provides Xcel Energy with a cost-effective and efficient solution to meeting their 1.5 percent solar energy requirement in Minnesota. The Project was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The North Star Solar Project is the largest solar energy facility in the Midwest, producing enough energy to power approximately 20,000 homes.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff) | carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5227

Local Food {BP no.27}

Pending - 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:
City actively supports a local farmer's market and community garden within the city limits.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

Pending - 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:
City uses service such as CodeRED and social media such as facebook to inform, alert and educate community on all safety concerns.

CodeRED is a free community notification system that keeps citizen's informed of emergency notifications, general community notifications, and severe weather warnings. If you want to sign up to receive free texts alerts.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Chief Dan Meyer (City staff) | danm@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5237