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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Met Council wins Supreme Court case

The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld a challenge to the power of the Metropolitan Council. Basically, the story was this: the Metropolitan Council told Lake Elmo, an eastern Suburb, that its comprehensive plan was unacceptable because it did not have enough higher-density development. Lake Elmo sued, believing that the Met Council didn't have the authority to make Lake Elmo change its comprehensive plan. The Met Council has won at every stage of the court battle.

I agree with the court's ruling. There are well over a hundred local units of government in the metropolitan area. The Met Council was created to oversee the development of this area and prevent a hundred different ideas of how it should proceed. Wise leaders realized that haphazard growth would be more expensive, more damaging, and less enjoyable than planned growth. While cities should be allowed to pursue their own plans within reason, Lake Elmo wanted to stay too rural at a time when there will be a million people moving here in the next few decades. Allowing Lake Elmo to pursue a divergent path would simply make development leapfrog farther out, increasing road congestion, harming the environment, and encouraging sprawl. We don't have the money to deal with the problems we have now, so it is foolish to make things worse.

The Met Council isn't perfect, but it is better than a lack of oversight. Hopefully, communities will continue to work with the Met Council to ensure orderly development.


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