Land Use Guide Plan Meeting: Wed., September 17th 6:30pm

Our county is in the process of revising the Land Use Guide Plan, that acts as the guiding document for planning, zoning and ordinances on county-owned and private lands.  This is an opportunity to voice your support for Cook County continuing to create opportunities for safe walking, bicycling and accessibility for our residents, from age 8 to 80!  Share your thoughts at the public meeting (Wed., Sept. 17th 6:30 the Cook County Community Center), or email Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson at

It’s not often you get an opportunity to help craft a future for a place you love. When you do, you should take it. Residents of Cook County will get such an opportunity Wednesday, Sept. 17. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the community center, a team from county government will listen as residents describe what they would like the Cook County of 2035 to look like in terms of land use, community appearance, economic vitality and community life. Residents also will also have the opportunity to offer specific action steps needed to achieve that desired future.

County residents are strongly urged to attend the Sept. 17 meeting and help sculpt a healthy, prosperous and environmentally responsible Cook County future.

This is all part of an effort to update the county comprehensive land use plan. The plan now in effect was written in 1997, a time of dramatically different circumstances. It does not fit the Cook County of 2014 very well, nor suggest the path the county should follow as it moves into the next several decades.

A central issue is how the county can achieve the proper balance between protecting the environment and creating conditions for a prosperous economy that can support a community of diverse ages, needs, skills and interests. The land use plan addresses only the 8 percent of the county that is in private or county hands, excluding Grand Marais.

This update process is a really big deal. The plan that results from this process won’t just be advisory; for the first time, it will have the force of law. It also will directly influence Cook County’s access to IRRRB funding. The IRRRB board has served notice that henceforth it will evaluate grant proposals against the land use plan from the county where the request originated.

The Sept. 17 meeting is designed just to hear what county residents would like the updated land use plan to emphasize. Residents will have opportunities later to give feedback on drafts of the update.

The County Planning and Zoning website contains background materials on the current plan and the update process, including the agenda for the public meeting (

– Jim Boyd, Member of the Plan Update Committee


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