The Comprehensive Plan does not establish a population goal.
The Metropolitan Council completes population forecasts for the seven-county metro area as part of its regional planning mandate in State Statute. Forecasts are meant to be realistic assumptions that can be used to guide investments in infrastructure and public services. They are not goals, aspirations or targets.
The regional forecast looks at the region’s business conditions and competitive advantages that determine economic and employment levels which, in turn, drive population growth by attracting people to the Twin Cities. Additional land use modeling looks at how populations, demographics, regional policies and available land affect real estate supply and demand.
From the Metropolitan Council’s perspective, a central function of comprehensive planning is to be able to anticipate growth and plan responsibly for it. Their direct purview relates to regional systems for parks, transportation and water resources, as well as additional regional requirements pertaining to affordable housing. In support of this, the Metropolitan Council provides specific guidance to communities about information needed to inform development and system planning and implementation.
The Metropolitan Council periodically adjusts forecasts based on new data, to ensure they are as accurate as possible. This has occurred recently with Edina and several other cities.
Forecasting growth and land use change are complex endeavors, particularly at a sub-regional level, due to the number of variables that contribute to change. As a result, it is necessary for the Metropolitan Council to at times adjust the forecasts based on new data they receive.
In addition to other data tracking, the region’s annual population and household estimate program provides insights as to whether near-term forecasts are accurate. For instance, in mid-2018, the Metropolitan Council completed its 2017 estimates. These showed that some communities were growing faster than anticipated with new units, so that the 2020 forecast numbers may be too low given current trends.
The Metropolitan Council informed staff that their projection for Edina was too low as the City had already hit the 2020 projection. The Metropolitan Council gave the City a 2040 population projection of 63,600 to include in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update. This was based on recent development in Edina and the recent Comprehensive Plan Amendments for those developments. The increase would be about 19 percent from Edina’s current population. Again, this projection is not a mandate, goal, aspiration or target.