Posted by: Dan Bergeson | July 29, 2007

Speaking of city limits, where should they be?


Over the past year or more, the Northfield EDA and others have spent a lot of time debating the need for expanding the commercial tax base of the city. Their preferred method for doing so is to create a new industrial/office park somewhere on the fringe of the city. Various methods are available for doing this including annexation and/or land purchases from private landowners. This is expensive and requires adding utility infrastructure if none exists (making it even more expensive). Sites frequently mentioned are on the western and northwestern boundaries of Northfield.


I’m not against this goal, but wonder if there aren’t easier, less expensive options that could be achieved first. The first among these, in my opinion, is to look to the north along HWY 3. The photo above was taken at the city limit sign on HWY 3 looking north. One is struck by the fact that there are 6-10 mature businesses outside the city limits of Northfield (but probably connected to the city’s utilities). These businesses are in Dakota County, contributing to Waterford Township’s tax base. But they are in a Northfield commercial zone. What would prevent Northfield from annexing the land on which these businesses reside and immediately increasing its commercial tax base? The deal would have to be negotiated with Waterford, but I’m guessing that we could work that out.

There may be an obvious reason why this hasn’t happened yet (it seems like a no brainer), but I haven’t heard anyone even mention the possibility after all of this discussion. Can someone help me understand this one?



  1. The EDA has two primary goals and yes, new development options allowing companies in Northfield to expand is one option under consideration. The EDA Land committee has been working on this for several years. Infill and addressing current properties are also another priority.
    The “no brainer” is finding the right tenants and also having access to current vacant buildings as well as a price that is comparable to what a bank is willing to lend or determine it’s value at.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Ps. Some how your clock is wrong.
    It is currently 10:10 on Sunday 1-13.

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