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Kalamazoo Metropolitan County Planning Commission

County Master Plan Initiative

The Kalamazoo Metropolitan County Planning Commission is undertaking an exciting new initiative to adopt a Countywide Master Plan pursuant to Public Act 33 of 2008, the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Since municipal collaboration is often difficult at such a scale, it requires a significant course of action and tremendous communication among all municipalities involved. The end result can then be used as a public policy document and integrated into local unit of government master plans. And distinctly, this plan will function as an extension of planning material for municipalities, not a competing master plan with overarching authority.

The process will rely on local planning commissions and municipal input. It will provide one direct source for all Master Plans within the County through the project website at www.kalcountymasterplan.org. Each of the four cities, five villages, and fifteen townships within the County will be involved in reviewing, summarizing, and affirming their community’s information during on-site visits by members of the Kalamazoo Metropolitan County Planning Commission (KMCPC) and the consultant team from Beckett & Raeder. In this bottom-up approach, the County will assess the various local government master plans, frame recurring themes and land use goals, and present the information to each local planning commission for comment and approval. The information will then be pooled together to consolidate the common themes, establish areas of focus, and prepare a final report.

Despite the variations among urban, suburban, and rural communities, common themes will be derived and aggregated from the similarities in underlying geography and County trends. The Plan will incorporate elements of a land development transect model, helping to focus common themes through the lens of development intensity, ranging from natural areas to urban cores. The County Plan will integrate aspects of the Southwest Michigan Prosperity Region and incorporate data from its 5-Year Prosperity Plan, parallel to similar undertakings in the Grand Traverse County Region. Strategy Areas categorized as Preservation, Enhancement, Redevelopment, and Transformation will help to identify and determine areas within the County which are best suited for growth and investment, rural and agricultural production, brownfield redevelopment, and preservation of natural and sensitive areas.

The end result will become a guide and foundation for local land use policies, to be used as a complementary document and vital source of data-driven information. The aim will be to unify and join commonalities among the communities and provide an additional resource for information and data. It will enhance, not overshadow, the current Master Plans and planning initiatives underway in each community. The Plan will be truly reflective of common goals, objectives, and themes, enriching the body of planning documentation within the County, and providing a generalized framework for leaders and decision-makers within the greater Kalamazoo area.