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.

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