The Business Pillar provides a guide for facilitating commercial activity throughout the County, while recognizing opportunities for entrepreneurship and economic development initiatives at the local and regional level. Stearns County’s commitment to this Pillar is further embodied in the following statement and goals.
Stearns County will invest in economic development strategies that are rooted in our shared values, skills, and identity. This will require a balanced economy that supports our existing businesses, while attracting new business that encourages entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.
The Comprehensive Plan continues to recognize agricultural activities as a cornerstone to the County’s economy and identity. However, the County will need to adapt to changing markets, socioeconomic trends, and agricultural practices in order to maintain the County’s rural economies. The County’s agricultural production is a potential source of economic growth, but is also at risk due to the volatility of commodity markets, changing agricultural practices, and land use conflicts between agricultural and non-agricultural development.
The Agricultural Pillar and Emerging Trends sections of this Plan has recognized some of these trends and challenges. Examples include:
To help address these trends, the Business Pillar has established policy areas to strengthen the rural economy.
The Comprehensive Plan can be implemented in a number of ways. On a daily basis, the document is used by County staff to review applications. The County Board, as well as other advisory commissions use the Plan when making decisions. It is used by residents and developers to understand the County’s intentions for the use of land, infrastructure needs, and planned park and open space improvements.