Tribune Recorder Leader

Your locally owned newspaper

Sanilac Master Plan Completed

(SANDUSKY, MI- 1/19/24) Since May of 2022, the Sanilac County Planning Commission and Municipal Planning Firm Beckett & Raedar of Ann Arbor have researched, surveyed, discussed, written, reviewed and edited a completely new County Master Plan to replace the last plan written twenty years ago. At the Tuesday, January 16th regular County Planning Commission meeting, a public hearing gave citizens one more chance to give their input and suggest corrections or edits to the plan.
The purpose of the County Master Plan is to create a coordinated guideline for each municipality in the county to reference for the next 5 years as they address proposed zoning changes. All existing master plans from each municipality were collected, with their priorities for future land use and development. The common priorities were renewable energy zoning, economic development, protection of farmland, and an acute housing shortage.
The Planning Commission appointed a steering committee of fifteen citizens with different careers from across the county, and they met from May 2022 to September 2023 to give more feedback and keep the plan on course.
The housing shortage is one of the biggest impediments to employers expanding in the area, especially as investors have purchased hundreds of homes and cottages along the lakeshore to convert them to short-term rental properties. As these homes go from residences to daily or weekly rental properties, they are not available for people living and working in the area. Employers are having a challenging time attracting talent, because there are not enough homes or apartments available for employees to live in.
Surveys for both the public and high school students gave citizens a chance to share their thoughts on renewable energy, alternative housing styles, recreation ideas, and identify other issues they thought we needed to address for the future. In total, 429 people returned the public survey, and 149 High School Students completed a separate survey. These results, along with the results of four separate community visioning sessions in September 2022, gave a baseline to start researching and writing the plan.
The 2024 County Master Plan and a separate “Sanilac County Guide to Renewable Energy Zoning” were both created for the township, city, and village zoning officials to reference when drafting new zoning ordinances. Links to multiple resources are included to help with planning commission training, legal procedure, zoning language templates, and other time and money saving tools.
During the 63-day Public Review period, residents could review the plan, then email their thoughts back to the planning commission to consider. Five county residents sent emails with their thoughts, questions, and suggested corrections.
At the Master Plan Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 16, a dozen people attended, and five county residents addressed the board with their concerns. There were a couple of statistics that will be double checked and amended based on citizen input. The Planning Commission then had a unanimous vote to send the Master Plan to the County Commissioners for adoption in February.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *