Morenci planning commission 2014.02.05

Morenci's planning commission will begin work this month on the creation of a master plan for the community and receive some help from the Region II planning commission.

The City pays dues for membership in the Region II group, city administrator/clerk Michael Sessions told local commission members last month, and can use the services of the regional group to advise Morenci's effort.

A master plan is used to direct local planning in the future.

"It lists steps of where we need to go," Sessions said.

A master plan is required by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to guide zoning decisions.

It's important to get a plan in place, Sessions said, because several agencies, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, require an updated master plan before deciding to issue a grant to a community.

Sessions suggested that planning commission members should take a look at the City of Milan's plan and use that as a model. The Milan plan is simple but gets the job done, he said. 

The plan would, for example, review water resources, utilities and development property; review the city’s housing needs, socio-economic characteristics and land use changes; set general goals and  consider the need for any zoning changes.

Sessions intends to bring one section of the plan each month for commissioners to examine and revise for Morenci's use.

Morenci's planners meet at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Sessions is accepting letters of interest from residents interested in filling vacancies on the commission.

ORDINANCE—Sessions also told commissioners last month that an updated planning commission ordinance is needed. The document sets down the laws by which the commission operates.

"It should have been done years ago," he said. "Ours was written in 1931."

An update is mostly a matter of simple changes, Sessions said, with changes in wording.

Sessions will bring an update to the Feb. 20 meeting for commission members to consider.