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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    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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