How did we get here?
The following process was undertaken to develop the proposed zoning ordinance:
Chikaming Township officials, including the Planning Commission, determined that the current Zoning Ordinance was not sufficiently implementing the vision of the recently adopted Township Master Plan. Specifically, Zoning Ordinance regulations were contrary to the vision for the Red Arrow Green Corridor and the character of the community centers (Sawyer, Harbert, Union Pier, and Lakeside) – not only was the Ordinance insufficient to restrict or prohibit undesirable development, the regulations actually required development to be built in a way that was out of character with the surroundings.
Additionally, the Township determined that the ordinance lacked regulations in important areas such as the Lake Michigan Waterfront, Agri-Tourism, and Wind/Solar Power. It also allowed signs to be overly large and clutter intersections, while at the same time being out of compliance with the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Reid v. Gilbert.
The Township issued an RFP for a professional planning firm, and chose McKenna to assist with the project. The Township also created a Steering Committee to lead the Ordinance writing effort.
The Township held an Open House for the general public to comment on issues impacted by zoning. Well over 100 people attended and provided ideas that fed into the proposed Ordinance.
A website, chikamingzoning.com, was created to keep the public informed throughout the process. The Township also held focus groups with interested residents.
McKenna completed a “technical review” of the existing Ordinance, recommending areas for revisions, new sections to add, and solutions to identified problems. McKenna also provided a first draft of a new Ordinance for review by the Steering Committee.
McKenna and the Steering Committee undertook an iterative process of creating and revising draft ordinances, including in depth discussions on important topics.
A complete Ordinance was unveiled to the general public for comment. The Township hosted a day of open discussions on a number of issues, which resulted in revisions to the draft Ordinance. The draft Ordinance was then presented to the Planning Commission, which held a formal public hearing. However, at that time, the Township determined that there was insufficient consensus on a number of issues, and decided to refer the draft back to the Steering Committee for additional development.
The Steering Committee and McKenna again undertook an iterative process of reviewing and revising drafts of the Ordinance, moving closer to consensus on key issues.
The proposed Ordinance was deemed ready to be unveiled to the public by the Steering Committee and was posted to chikamingzoning.com on September 6. The Ordinance will be discussed by the Planning Commission and the general public at a public hearing on October 3. After the Public Hearing, the Planning Commission will decide whether to request changes, recommend approval to the Township Board, or get more public feedback.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.