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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    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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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