By Laura Kreps
Augusta Township in Washtenaw County recently adopted a comprehensive large solar energy ordinance to accommodate the Sugar Creek Solar Farm. The proposed solar farm is located on approximately 644 acres of land that has recently been rezoned to light industrial for large solar energy facility development. The township board adopted text and map amendments and the planning commission approved a special land use permit. The township expects the applicant to file an application for site plan review later this year.
Solar energy representatives have contacted other CWA clients in southeast Michigan to explore possible sites. Contact us for more information on formulating a solar energy ordinance.
Of course you need an advance agenda for your planning commission and zoning board and thorough minutes. You know what circumstances require a public hearing. This article by the Michigan State University Extension office dives into more details.
Do your ordinance or rules of procedure specify what constitutes a conflict of interest? It might mean a member has a financial interest in the applicant’s outcome, that the applicant is a relative or that the member owns land close to that of the applicant. But how close is too close?
No member should have ex-parte contact with an applicant outside the meeting. Commissioners or board members may be allowed to drive visit the site, either alone, or all together, in compliance with the open meetings act. Again, your rules should specify what is allowed.
The article also includes a link to this page, with basics on parliamentary procedure.
Posted in Master plans, Municipal Management, Zoning
Tagged agenda, BZA, Carlisle/Wortman Associates, cities, city, counties, county, Michigan, minutes, planners, planning, planning commission, township, village, ZBA, Zoning
In May, John Enos and David Scurto presented a Michigan Municipal League planning and zoning workshop to more than 20 elected and appointed officials in the City of Allen Park. The curriculum covered master plans, zoning ordinances, conduct of the zoning board of appeals, proper procedure and risk management.
Carlisle/Wortman Associates teaches many planning-related topics for MML’s education branch. John and Dave will present a workshop to the City of Benton Harbor at the end of June on site plan review. If interested in having a class brought to your community please call the MML at 734-669-6311.
By Paul Montagno
More than 50 residents and stakeholders gathered at Bay City’s city hall to comment on topics that will frame the strategic plan being developed by Carlisle/Wortman Associates. The topics, or themes, of the plan are
- Community identity
- Housing and neighborhoods
- Connections (transportation)
- Environmental resiliency
- Recreation and entertainment, and
- Economic development.
Each topic was represented at a station with informational material and a unique activity that allowed participates to answer questions, prioritize direction, and/or provide written comments. For example, participants were asked to place different colored dots on a paper map of the city to identify locations for various transportation options (transit, vehicular, pedestrian, bicycles). Another station asked specific questions about ways the community could develop economically. Participants were invited to respond to the questions by taking a green card for “yes” or a red card for “no,” writing the reason for their answer on the back of the card, and depositing the card into an individual box for each question. In addition to this event, people can also comment on the master plan website, http://baycitymasterplan.com/ using the MiCommunity Remarks map-based input tool. They can provide location-based comments on these topics throughout the process.
Where do communities most often get into legal trouble? Zoning enforcement. Yet decision makers often fail to designate a person whose primary job is that of zoning administrator, or they expect a planning director or building official to play that role.
At the Michigan Association of Planning conference in November, CWA’s John Enos spoke on the responsibilities and duties of the planner, planning commission and zoning administrator in the zoning enforcement process.
By Dick Carlisle, AICP
Written for the July, 2014 “Township Focus,” the official publication of the Michigan Townships Association
May 8, 2014. One day, two newspapers. On page one of the Detroit Free Press: “Seniors and driving: when to give up the keys?” Then, on the front page of the New York Times Home section: “Grandma never had it so good. Why? Because she lives in a tiny backyard house in Portland, Ore.”
Those two articles are early warnings for communities across Michigan and the United States because the census tells us that population segment aged 65 and older will increase by 50 percent in the next 30 years. In 2010, 13.8 percent of the state’s population was over the age of 65. By 2040 it will be 21 percent. Some northern Michigan counties are already at that number. In Alcona County, it’s at 31.5 percent.
Townships that don’t address this trend soon may go broke trying to fix it later while putting a large and vulnerable segment of their community at risk, not to mention missing out on a ”golden opportunity” to actively engage seniors.
Those two newspaper articles point to transportation and housing, which will be the most significant considerations – but surely not the only ones — as township officials, residents, and planners shape their plans.
Whatever your role, this article will help you understand the demographics and attitudes of today’s – and tomorrow’s – seniors. You’ll learn how to make your township age-friendly and you’ll see how that works in Michigan and places around the country, as communities modify their land use, zoning, and building codes; create access to home care and health care, and help seniors engage with each other and their communities.
Posted in Master plans, Public engagement, Recreation planning, Richard Carlisle
Tagged accessory dwelling units, aging, Carlisle/Wortman Associates, community engagement, Dick Carlisle, housing, Placemaking, senior citizens, seniors, transit, Zoning
Driven by an innovative, 2008 master plan, form-based zoning and higher design requirements, the City of Troy has seen $11 million in private economic development investment along its Big Beaver corridor.
In its December 8, 2013 edition, Crain’s Detroit Business described the city’s move away from a traditional zoning approach based on land use to form-based zoning, which among other conditions, requires that buildings be placed along the corridor and parking be behind buildings. The city also eliminated the requirement that restaurants be attached to office buildings and allows them as infill of existing, expansive parking lots. Six new restaurants have been built since, including Granite City Food and Brewery, Piada Italian Street Food, Bonefish Grille, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Halo Burger. La-Z-Boy Furniture, Flagstar Bank and Sprint have also opened stores in the area.
“The ordinance changes make the things we wanted most, like walkability and mixed-use development, the easiest to accomplish,” Planning Director Brent Savidant told Crain’s. “That helps strengthen the presence of infrastructure along Big Beaver Road, which we hope will encourage more development.”
The Detroit Medical Center has plans for a 70,000-square-foot, $42 million children’s outpatient specialty center along Big Beaver. In addition, a 60-unit high-end apartment project has been preliminary approved in the area. The city has also approved plans for five new, nationally-branded hotels, two of which will be in the Big Beaver corridor, the Detroit Free Press reported on December 8. These projects further drive demand for restaurants and retail.