Forest Lake Adds New Director of Community Development Position | New

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Forest Lake City Council voted at its Monday October 25 meeting to create a new position of Director of Community Development. Forest Lake City administrator Patrick Casey said the main reasons he thinks creating the position is important is to facilitate the process of new housing development or economic developments.

“It’s a challenge for the staff to keep up with this,” Casey said.

He also said that with the recent resignation of Zoning Administrator Donovan Hart, it gave Casey the opportunity to assess the position and how best to manage it in the future. Casey mentioned that in 2014 the Zoning Administrator position was created by merging three roles into one, which was at a time when development was still slow after the housing market collapsed in 2008. He stated that while it might be appropriate for the time, housing and commerce development is much heavier today than it was then, and it is difficult for staff to keep up with the demands of the increase in projects.

During the Oct. 11 meeting, Casey said, “The previous post, Donovan’s, was to review housing, zoning enforcement, fixture maintenance enforcement and was to deal with items to order. the day of the Planning Commission; the work was just too much for one post. A new position like this would raise awareness, but coordinate the development process internally. We’re just not doing a very good job. Developers get frustrated when we can’t clearly tell them what to do or what our guidelines are. Sometimes in the past we’ve told them something early in the process, but somewhere in the middle that process changes. We need to fix it and do a better job.

Mayor Mara Bain asked for clarification on the job description during the October 25 meeting. The functions of the zoning administrator would be partly integrated into the position of director of community development, although they would primarily fall under the responsibility of the community planner, the new title of the zoning administrator. The director of community development will be searched first, followed by a community planner. Bain wanted clarification on how the position would strike the right balance of development.

“[We need] to balance residential and commercial growth, and if we are to continue to have a healthy balance and a healthy mix, we need the business side of development to be someone’s full time job. If we don’t actively do this to have a healthy mix, I think we’ll have a higher residential mix than we would otherwise like, ”Bain said at the Oct. 25 meeting.

The board unanimously approved the new position.

Everton Avenue Improvements

Washington County will be making pedestrian and road improvements along Everton Avenue (County Road 33). Morgan Abbot, the Washington County project manager, proposed the construction at the October 19 meeting, with final approval sought at the October 25 meeting in Forest Lake.

In 2013, the county and city swapped the roads for which it was responsible: with the city accepting responsibility for the North Shore Trail and 11th Avenue, the county took over Everton Avenue. The road has poor pavement conditions, operational issues, and storm and sewer upgrades are needed. The proposed project will take place in 2024.


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