April 22, 2019 Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting Minutes






1:00 P.M., Monday, April 22, 2019

CALL TO ORDER: A meeting of the Committee-of-the-Whole of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held and called to order by Mayor Anderson in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 600 Fourth Street, International Falls, Minnesota, on the 22nd day of April 2019 at the hour of 1:00 P.M. The meeting is a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and Project Steering Team (PST) members invited.


MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Anderson and Councilors Buller, Ditsch, and Krause.


MEMBERS ABSENT: Councilor Droba.


OTHERS PRESENT: Planning Commission and PST members – Matt Gouin, Clint Chase, and Paul Nevanen; staff members Kelly Meyers and Ken Anderson; and consultant Antonio Rosell, Director, Community Design Group (CDG).




Mayor Anderson recognized Ken Anderson who identified the agenda packet materials to include an agenda, list of PST members, Strategic Goals and Action Plan for 2019 and 2020 recently adopted by the City Council, and November 29, 2018 letter from CDG with the contract amendment/extension and outline of Option 2 work to be accomplished. After brief introductions, Antonio Rosell proceeded with a PowerPoint presentation of his firm’s history and work with Comprehensive Plans. He identified the extensive community engagement activities that were undertaken and the major elements within the International Falls Comprehensive Plan. While the plan is 90 to 95% completed, the next steps will include updating:

  • the Housing section with the recommendations found in the Housing Study prepared by Community Partners,
  • trails and sidewalk connectivity planning with the Highway 53 reconstruction plans,
  • Heritage Preservation language in the Environment and Cultural Resources section,
  • Values statements to add the Rainy River Community College, Broadband Service, and daily Airport commercial air service, for example,
  • sales and use tax revenues to fund road and utility improvements if approved, and
  • future annexation areas.


Mr. Rosell emphasized the Comprehensive Plan is the document to set policies and lay out the long-term vision for growth and development in the City. The Zoning Ordinance update creates the local laws used to implement the land use policies found in the Comprehensive Plan. He said this plan will incorporate fresh thinking into the City vision and planning to the year 2040 and should be updated every 10 years. The last Comprehensive Plan was prepared and dated in 1966.


Discussion and questions followed about the Vision statement in the Comprehensive Plan. Councilor Krause pointed to the need to revise it to be more focused and forward thinking on what we want to be (aspirational) and less on what we are now. An example: “We the citizens of International Falls will strive to continue to maintain an inviting, inclusive, and family-friendly community dedicated to growing economically and socially while being responsible stewards of the natural environment and beauty of this area for generations to come.” Additionally, the Town Hall meeting comments on Recreation should be forwarded by staff to Antonio Rosell to review as part of his update.


NEXT STEPS: Mr. Rosell
indicated he will revise the Comprehensive Plan and send out a link when completed for the members to review and comment on-line. He will also include the proposed Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance to review. He anticipated his work on the final draft will be completed in 2 to 3 weeks.


ADJOURNMENT: The Mayor adjourned the
meeting at 3:20 P.M.




Minutes respectfully prepared by Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator

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