Morenci planning commission: Master Plan update 1.21.09

Written by David Green.

It’s not only good for a town to have a Master Plan to follow, it’s now a law. The state requires all communities and townships to have a plan on file and they have until 2011 to get the job done.

Morenci has a Master Plan, but the 1979 date inside the front cover points to the need for an update.

Morenci planning commission members have discussed the need to renew the document and topic came to the forefront again Monday night as the commission kicked off a new year.

The Master Plan serves a land use guide to make sure changes take place in a logical, efficient manner that will best benefit the community.

Morenci’s residential zoning administrator Jack Baird told the commission that the old plan is a little vague.

“We have to project how areas could be used and it has to show how we’re going to do it,” Baird said.

Baird said that growth in Lenawee and Hillsdale counties has been slow compared to many areas of the state, yet the potential exists and the community should be ready for changes if they were to arrive.

Commission member Scott Merillat agreed with the need for a more specific plan. If residential growth is pegged for a particular area, then the plan must show that adequate infrastructure and utilities are available and it must tell how they will be delivered to the area.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said she received very rough estimates for the cost of hiring a firm to assist with Master Plan development. One was listed at $7,500 and the other at $10,000.

Merillat was asked if he thought it was necessary to hire a firm for the job. He said the work itself isn’t particularly difficult, but he thinks it’s beyond the scope of anyone on the commission to have the time to devote to the project. Updating the plan has been talked about for months, but no action was ever started.

“No one has the time to follow through on all the demands,” he said about the volunteer planning group.

The work could be done in-house, he said, and then an outside firm could be hired to review it.

Commissioners voted to ask city council to devote up to $10,000 to the project in the 2009-10 budget.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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