The October 17th Master Plan Open House

Report by David Gordon, November 2, 2018

Big Idea Postits unskewed DJG 800w488h

 Big Idea Poster iPhone photo by David Gordon


At the Oct. 17th “Open House” hosted by the Planning Commission as part of its $25,000 Master Plan review process, the overwhelming message was the same as it has been since 1996:

 Preservation is our #1 priority and a little bit of development is wanted;

but only if it doesn’t harm our beautiful lake and farmland areas.

 Preservation of farmland, open space and natural areas topped the list in the “voting” done by the 44 residents who put Post-It “dots” next to 49 different categories offered on seven poster boards.

The “dots” confirmed that residents also want downtown spruced up and would like a little bit of residential development in specific areas with existing infrastructure.

There were good insights offered on the “Big Ideas” poster board and stuck to the other six poster boards.   A quick glance at these photos tells the story. (LINK TO PHOTOS HERE)

Nearly every poster board shows that preservation and parks win out over development. Even on the poster board entitled “Residential Area”, parks and preservation got the majority of votes.

At the end of the 90-minute session, township planner Paul Lippens said the dots were “only indicators” and he would “interpret” them in his final report to the Planning Commission within the next month.

Back in 1996, the Planning Commission hired a University of Michigan professor to conduct a scientific survey the whole community and then used the results to rewrite the Master Plan.  

That 1996 survey came up with the same results. Land preservation was the #1 Priority.  (see for results from that survey)

At the first Board of Trustees meeting after the Open House, several members criticized the meeting as chaotic and unprofessional and the entire Board agreed that the current Master Plan “is pretty solid as written”.

“The Master Plan only needs a few tweaks,” said Supervisor Marlene Chockley. However, an opportunity was missed at the Open House because it was unclear what “tweaks” are being considered, so nobody got to vote on them.  

While the State of Michigan requires that a township review its Master Plan every five years, many communities do a quick review and simply re-adopt the plan; a process that meets state mandates.