Green on Blue

A coalition of members from The Center for Sustainable Living, RENew Northfield, and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership met with consultants from ACP Visioning and Planning on Monday, April 2, as part of a “community stakeholder” meeting regarding the upcoming revisions of the Northfield Comprehensive Plan.

NOTE: The Public Meeting concerning the revision of the Northfield Comprehensive Plan is TODAY, April 3rd, from 7pm – 9pm.
Location: Northfield Armory, 519 Division Street. (Econofoods welcomes public parking in their lot for this event. Thank you, Econofoods!)

“All of us environmental folks were consistent in what we see as essential for sustainability in the next ten years or so,” recounted Olivia Frey, Secretary and board member of the CSL.

The following recommendations were outlined by the coalition:

To ensure a sustainable future for the community of Northfield, and in the long run for the earth, the CSL recommends the following be considered as the Northfield Comprehensive Plan is reviewed and revised:

1. Northfield will become energy independent as rapidly as possible in partnership with surrounding rural townships, implementing a combination of aggressive public and private sector energy efficiency and wind, solar and biomass energy generation options to meet the area’s energy needs.

2. Require that all new construction be carbon-neutral by a certain date (e.g. 2012). (Carbon neutrality could be defined as zero net on-site energy consumption, with purchase of local carbon offsets by investment in a local clean energy fund offsetting any purchased non-renewable energy.)

3. Existing agricultural land will be preserved as much as possible. (See # 5 below regarding the Greenway Corridor System) Biodiverse farms will be developed, including animal and vegetable as well as fruit farms, providing food for local families as well as restaurants and markets for the broader region. Do not view existing agricultural land as only undeveloped commercial, industrial and residential land.

4. Increase green spaces and green corridors by implementing the Greenway Corridor System.

5. Plan ahead for future development and the transportation needs that will be necessary by implementing the Greenway Corridor System. Bikeways, walkways and systems of public transportation will be plotted out, and development may occur within the loops of the corridor system. Small businesses—corner grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, etc., –that satisfy the immediate needs of residents and that are within walking or biking distance would be located within each loop. Development now—in Northfield and most towns and cities—follows highways. Northfield should plan more intentionally.

6. Concentrate core retail growth within the core downtown of Northfield. Stop sprawl.

7. Concentrate industrial park growth within existing areas. One loop of the Corridor system could be devoted to future industrial growth. Encourage CLEAN industry—food, dairies, digital.

8. Require new businesses and industry to commit to and work toward the triple bottom line—people, profit and planet.

9. Develop a Center for Sustainable Economic Development—existing sustainability businesses, incubator businesses, carbon offset provider, etc.

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