Afton is located in Washington County, 15 miles east of the Twin Cities. Its proximity to the metro area, along with its many great amenities, means that the community has faced increasing development pressure.
Nestled between wooded river bluffs and the protected scenic St. Croix River, Afton is described as a historic village. It is also home to the popular Afton Sate Park and Afton Ski Area. The broad consensus among residents is to remain a rural haven, even as nearby cities develop rapidly and, in most cases with a dramatically different vision.
Afton used CGO to provide important resources for planning its development: a framework for community dialogue, informed and ongoing planning and follow-through accountability.
See what Afton City Council Member Joe Richter has to say about his community's plans for its future and how CGO has made a difference.
CGO Project Overview
Afton followed their tradition of extremely vigorous public debate to finalize their Comprehensive Plan update, to create and streamline ordinances and to align CGO activities with other city efforts.
The Comprehensive Plan update follows early community surveys which confirmed the overall goals of citizens: to retain the agricultural character of the city, to protect natural resources, and to protect the historic village area. CGO-funded efforts toward these goals included an extended process of review and drafting a new plan with a task force including the Planning Commission and citizens. This draft, recommended to the City Council by the Planning Commission, was subsequently modified by the Council to reflect ongoing discussion and is currently being reviewed by the Metropolitan Council.
One of the notable additions to the Comprehensive Plan is a Conservation Overlay District which guides development in the agricultural area to protect natural resources and rural character through a combination of density limits and encouragement of conservation development. The city is currently working to create the ordinance language to enact this overall policy.
Afton has also updated and re-codified its subdivision ordinance to address disagreements about which of several similar versions was actually in effect. This work was aligned with ongoing efforts to update Afton’s surface water management plan and to provide an updated approach to infrastructure provision, including sewage treatment and road construction.
Finally, Afton held several joint City Council – Planning Commission meetings to align efforts; and hosted a training on Advanced Planning and Zoning Techniques, which was attended by officials from Center City.
CGO Project Goals: Natural resource protection, agricultural character protection, leadership development
- Complete Comprehensive Plan update
- Align and re-codify subdivision ordinance versions
- Create a Conservation Overlay District in agricultural areas to protect natural resources, including wooded areas, ravines, surface and ground water, all of which affect the adjacent St. Croix River
- Build capacity of staff, elected and appointed officials
- Updated Comprehensive Plan
- Conservation Overlay District
- Subdivision Ordinance
Maps of Afton
Several maps showing Afton’s geography are provided below. The maps are 11” x 17” (but can be printed at 8-1/2” x 11”) and in PDF format.
- Area Location Map
- Aerial Photo Map
- Lakes and Wetlands Map
- Current Land Use Map
- Watersheds Map
- Transportation Map
- Forested Areas Map
- Recreational Amenities Areas Map
- Topographical Map
- Regionally Significant Ecological Areas Map