Issues and Opportunities

According to the Comprehensive Plan survey results (2014), 64 percent of respondents rated the Town of Somerset’s quality of life as “good” and an additional 25 percent rated as “excellent.” The four most important reasons respondents choose to live in the Town of Somerset are:

 small town atmosphere and rural character

 natural features

 cost of home/land

 near family and friends

Regarding general issues and opportunities for the Town, majorities of respondents also said:

 All programs or services are rated highly except high speed internet access.

 Regulations to protect natural resources are viewed as essential.

 Multi-family housing in the Town is not desirable to the respondents.

 More businesses are desired, but their locations should be regulated by the Town.

 The Town should be involved in community planning to determine where and how development should occur.

 New residential development should use cluster design, but a majority of respondents personally prefer traditional subdivision designs.

The survey also asked residents an open-ended question—“What do you like about living in the Town of Somerset?” Respondents liked that the Town of Somerset is a quiet place with small town atmosphere, rural character, and open space that is close to the amenities of the Twin Cities. The word cloud below contains the forty most frequent words within respondents’ comments

tumblr_mqvsd7ij1c1rkz363o1_1280.jpg

A second open-ended question asked residents “What would you like the Town of Somerset to look like 25 years from now?” A substantial portion of the respondents’ comments indicated that they would like the Town to be the same or similar to the way it is now, perhaps with some additional business development. The word cloud below contains the fifty most frequent words within respondent’s comments

We as residents we want:

 Greater awareness of residents and local realtors needed on services, issues, and rural living in the Town. (Issues & Opportunities)

 Limit multi-family development. (Housing, Land Use) Issues & Opportunities 10 Issues & Opportunities

 Provide more bike routes and off-road trails. Encourage the development of good shoulders on road for use of bikers and pedestrians. (Transportation)

 Increasing demand for public open space. The Comprehensive Plan should reference and coordinate with the Town Parks and Outdoor Recreation Plan. (Utilities & Community Facilities, Land Use)

 Poor and inconsistent broadband speed and reliability. (Utilities & Community Facilities)

 Integrate the County Farmland Preservation Plan and the identified farmland preservation areas in the Town into the comprehensive plan. (Agricultural Resources, Land Use).

 Explore opportunities, manage growth, and encourage best management practices to protect and conserve surface waters, wetlands, groundwater, and wildlife habitat. (Natural Resources, Land Use)

 More groundwater testing is needed. (Natural Resources)

 Improve river access on St. Croix and Apple Rivers for boat, canoe, and kayak, but do not allow over-commercialization; retain natural beauty and protect resources (Natural Resources, Economic Development)

 What will be the impacts of the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge? Integrate stormwater, waste water, and economic studies. (Natural Resources, Economic Development, Land Use)

 Continued coordination with library and school district. (Intergovernmental)

 Where should new commercial and industrial development be located? How do we prevent land use conflicts while retaining rural character? (Economic Development, Land Use)

 Guide growth in order to retain rural character and promote quality development. Promote fair and orderly growth and development. Do not over regulate and maintain flexibility when possible. (Land Use)

 Consider design standards and nuisance ordinances for community character and to protect general welfare. (Land Use)

 Encourage open space preservation, conservation design, and clustering to preserve rural character. (Land Use)

 Control the tax increases associated with development. Impact fees and exactions can be used to finance public open spaces and infrastructure that is required for new development. (Land Use)