Integrating Stakeholder Values in Collaborative Land-Use Planning for Metropolitan-Area Edge Communities.
Planning at the urban fringe or “edge” of metropolitan areas presents unique and interesting challenges. As rural small towns and agricultural areas transition from exurban to suburban landscapes, they face important decisions about the character and location of future development. Working often within a fragmented decision-making structure, they seek to balance numerous competing values, including preserving a rural lifestyle, providing opportunities for recreation, conserving sensitive natural areas, and providing economic opportunity through development. Creating enduring policies to guide orderly and sustainable development requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders holding legitimate interests in the future of edge communities. This article presents an innovative collaborative approach to land-use planning that is both resource based and stakeholder driven, and summarizes results from a recent application of this new approach in an area that encompasses Laketown Township in Carver County, a community in the exurban fringe of the southwestern portion of the Twin Cities metropolitan region.