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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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