Tag Archives: Zoning

Township adds solar energy zoning

By Laura Kreps

solar-zoning-webAugusta 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.

How to keep your meetings efficient, effective and legal

gavelOf 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.



Carlisle/Wortman planners train elected and appointed officials for MML

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.

Empower your zoning administrator

Code Enforcement-webWhere 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.

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Form-based zoning inspires development along Troy’s major corridor

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.

Troy store fronts

 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.

Granite City “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.