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Farmington EDA develops tools to promote development

Farmington Economic Development Authority is working on site readiness and what it takes to prepare each piece of land for development. The EDA continues to work on ways to expand commercial and industrial properties and develop programs to enhance the business community. Kara Hildreth / contributor 1 / 2
Farmington's new 2040 Comp Plan website linke is live with information on the process and public input strategy and information banners like this one are displayed at the library and City Hall. Go to Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 2

Attracting new industrial park companies to build on undeveloped land requires that the acreage be site or shovel ready.

Farmington Community Development Director Adam Kienberger said the agency's 2016-18 strategic plan calls for development of economic tools and site readiness. The advisory board recently voted to invest $20,000 to help with programs that promote and encourage site readiness for undeveloped land.

"Over the past several years the EDA has spent a fair amount of time discussing tools and creating policies for using them for economic development," Kienberger said. "One item we have not spent as much time discussing is site readiness and what it takes to prepare a site for development."

He led a discussion at the Economic Development Authority meeting Thursday, July 27.

"When companies are looking for sites to develop, the length of time to get through the development process means everything, and as landowners make their land available for development, there are some things they can do to make their land more attractive to developers," Kienberger said.

Shovel-ready sites attract companies and site selectors. This means a company will need to invest less, time, expense and reduces risks in a development transaction, Kienberger explained.

To be shovel ready, land must meet the following criteria:

• proper zoning in place

• ownership and title cleared and ready for sale

• survey and studies must be completed

• agencies must be ready to grant approval

• infrastructure must be in place

• a conceptual site plan should be in place.

"If you don't have a site that is ready to go, than bye-bye," said Mark Lofthus, economic development director with Dakota Electric Association in Farmington.

Planning for future land development in Farmington is underway. An update to the comprehensive plan will project how Farmington will look in the next two decades.

City planners are working to set the stage for the city's future development and growth, along with addressing the public infrastructure needs into 2040. The plan will identify the community's long-term vision, goals, policies, strategies and opportunities.

The broad components of 2040 Comp Plan will cover economic development, housing, land use, transportation, water resources, sustainability, parks and recreation and implementation.

Farmington is soliciting residents' input. To share ideas or gather information, go online at