Township eyes the future

With the township smack in the middle of the M-231 project, Robinson officials are taking the steps to stay ahead of the curve of any new developments that might take place as a result of the new road.
Alex Doty
Oct 10, 2013


“We have no idea, once this highway goes in, what this township will look like in the future,” Township Treasurer Bonnie Hayward said.

With that in mind, Township Supervisor Tracy Mulligan said now is the time to begin to map out the township's future. It's a future, she said, that could have different possibilities.

"We all love our rural community feel in Robinson Township," Mulligan said. "With a bypass going through, it could change it.”

Mulligan said what the community will look like in the coming years is the kind of conversation that needs to take place between decision makers in order to make sure the best choices are made. To help make these choices, the township has begun to look at updating its master development plan, which outlines uses and development in the township.

"It takes months to update if you are making changes," Mulligan said. "This is just the beginning steps."

Officials have already begun this process, as Mulligan noted that the township's Planning Commission has started to look at the document. It would then go through the process of having the public and Township Board also look at it before it gains approval.

Township officials have also mulled over the idea of hiring a professional planner to help with the update to the master plan.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



This is a very smart move. I see way too many communities become reactive to development proposals instead of planning ahead. I know that sometimes Robinson Township is the butt of Tri-Cities related jokes, but I think we could all learn from this approach. I would say that the idea of a professional planner is a VERY good idea. Congratulations Robinson Township on your approach to this situation.


I would have thought this conversation started along with the approval of the M-231 project. Oh well, better late than never.

Fire access and road improvement is long over due and needs to be addressed. Boat ramps and parks are nice but do not increase your tax base like paved roads and utility improvements. I only know of a couple of roads that have been paved out there in the last 20 yrs.! Paved roads do not mean you lose the rural feel when the master plan is well thought out.

Be wary of professional planners as most times they seem to come at a higher price than their knowledge of what the community needs! Good luck.


Good thoughts @wingmaster . . . professional planners do come at a price . . . . but generally they are worth the cost.

Also I am wondering about your statement related to "tax base". I do not believe everything has to be focused on increasing tax base. Maybe what we want is steady tax base. More tax base simply usually just means more bureaucracy. ( I understand that is a generalization . . . but I think there is some truth behind the statement). Cities that constantly seek out increased "tax base" often sell their collective souls for a dollar instead of considering what is best for the community overall. Bigger and more is not always better. While I am not a Robinson Township resident, that community does have appeal to me in many ways. Rural is NOT bad.


True that Chris. Even at this small local level we can see how taxes are being used that do not always serve the overall good or desires.

Maybe it should have been stated to take care of where the taxes are coming from, the people. Many out there have been told roads would be paved only to see new parks and launch improvements that serve only recreational use not infrastructure. Meanwhile a limited access highway cuts thru and takes away the rural atmosphere for many.

Master plan improvements updates are needed to control the expansion that is coming and may have put more control or leverage over the M-231 bypass in local hands.

A "steady tax base" it seems will only come if the desires of the township residents are being met and their tax dollars are put to good use.


"“We have no idea, once this highway goes in, what this township will look like in the future,” Township Treasurer Bonnie Hayward said".

Really? all that would be necesssary to get an idea would be to look at similar projects from past years, in other areas of the state.

As a personal example, I have relatives who live(d) on the north side of Big Rapids since before I was a wee lad. They had a wonderful country area home, outside the city limits UNTIL they expanded US 131 Northward, past their road, with an exchange on their road, about a mile West of their house.

As soon as the highway was opened of course traffic increased about 400% (according to my uncle, but the traffic increase was undeniable no matter the percentage) and then the build up of support services started. Within 3 years there were businesses up and down the road, where farm fields had been before, including the final nail in the coffin for them, a huge Wesco style gas station, almost directly across from their beautiful home, which was open 24/7, which brought constant Semi Truck traffic and the constant smell of diesel fuel into their house.

They now live on the South side of Big Rapids, back out in the country again where there are no plans to pave more cornfields.

It's great that Robinson Township wants to be proactive, because if they're not, eventually folks on the East side of G.H. will be able to look east at night and see a glow from the business buildup that will happen along the new highway without some checks and balances in place. This project will impact many more folks than just those within the sightline of the roadway.

Back in 2006 we were looking into selling our home in town and moving out in the Robinson area but after hearing and speaking with some folks about this, at the time, proposed project, we decided to just stay put. At least in our current neighborhood we don't get constant traffic and a reduction in quality of life.

""We all love our rural community feel in Robinson Township," Mulligan said. "With a bypass going through, it could change it.”"

It will change it, you can take it to the bank. Do something now if you want to keep that rural feel out there folks. Good luck.


US 131 and Sternberg are a lot different than M-231 . . .

I appreciate your feedback ... but this is not even close to be an apples to apples comparison. We are talking about a M-231 being a TWO lane road for the vast majority of its length.


You need to learn how to comprehend what is written buddy. I was speaking of 131 NOT 31. Big Rapids is about 80 miles Northeast of here....ever hear of it?
After you consider those relevant facts come back and I'll explain why it is an apples and apples comparison.
In the meantime I'm gonna go to my doctor's appt and listen to why I won't make it to 70.


Might be something to do with your anger issues.

Hey seriously good luck. Just a word of advice, try not to piss off the Doc when he is putting on his plastic gloves alright:-)


Hey Bud, I don't have anger issues. I may have low tolerance for stupid stuff issues, but I'm pretty mellow in person, just ask the wife. I spent all morning today out in the backyard planting flowers with the granddaughter, who seems to think I'm Ok......

You're the one hollaring about end times and how we all need guns and stuff. Just because someone is opinionate, doesn't mean their about to snap. If that were the case I'd have gone over the edge 20 years ago.

As far as the doc goes....we have an understanding. He says what he thinks and then he understands I'll probably do what I want anyhow, but at least I listened. This visit doesn't include any plastic gloves. He's a great guy, best doctor I ever met in 60 years and unfortunately I've had occasion to meet quite a few in my life.
Time to go.


I understood what you said. Notice that my response DID say 131 (just as you posted). I know a lot of people get US 31 and US 131 confused . . . but I did not. The point of my post is that US 131 is a TOTALLY different animal than M-231. US 131 is a major LONG DISTANCE north south highway whereas M-231 is planned to be a fairly minor two lane (in most places) by pass. That is why US131 comparisons as well as Sternberg comparisons are not apples to apples.


Yeah, ok, sure. Let's just wait about 5 years after it's open, not be proactive and see how much difference there is between the two highways then....

At best your post was confusing as it says 131 AND Sternberg, which I mistook (obviously) to mean you were referring to the mall area buildup. No where that I know of do those two roads connect, but if you need to cover up your obfuscation with more of the same go for it.

I fail to see how the distance of the road in question will change the desire of the folks who own property along it, to make a buck, but maybe you can explain that with apples.


US 131 and Sternberg ... Notice the AND. They were TWO Different location. Your post was related to US 131 in Big Rapids. Sternberg was mentioned by another poster here as part of this same article. My post said that both the US 131 issue and the Sternberg issue were NOT apples to apples. I am not sure how you could confuse US 131 and Sternberg as ONE location since those two roads do NOT intersect. US 131 and Sternberg are TWO different locations. If I would have said US 31 and Sternberg then it would make sense ... but you misread. Sorry.


By the way, the Sternberg comment was made by GordBzz ... as for distance, that is only an illustration of one being a major road with major traffic ... this road being developed is much smaller and will not have nearly the type of traffic (according to MDOT projections) as US 131 in your illustration.

Sorry you are having a bad day.


LessThanAmused, I hope you find your medication. Anger is not healthy.

The reality is that US 131 is a large divided highway with major on and off ramps in the Big Rapids area. M-231 in most places will be a two lane simple paved road with limited access. Big difference in the way these types of roads impact the community around them.

But I will be happy to listen to how you think this is an Apples to Apples comparison.


"LessThanAmused, I hope you find your medication. Anger is not healthy".

Ok Wingmaster#2.....Actually, according to my doctor, it's usually better to let that stuff out rather then keep it inside and let it fester. As long as I don't choke the life out of some idiot I'm good to go. Writing helps keep my blood pressure down and lessens the need for medication.

As for apples, I'm eating an Apple Dumpling right now with a dollop of ice cream on top of it. That's good for my blood pressure too!


Sternburg development is a good example, once there was blueberry farms, now heavy traffic


If you build it they will come, eventually, urban sprawl . . .


We were (barely) spared a forced buy out by the State but living right next to an off ramp our house is now the desire of those with a business in mind so likely we will be selling to a commercial concern sometime in the future, no doubt things will change, maybe the Yellow Jacket will enjoy enough traffic to slim down the menu selections from 355 to maybe 100 things they make really well, then remodel the interior not to mention A&L Farms Restaurant (great people by the way) will enjoy great success at their still new endeavor! slam at all meant towards the “Jacket”…they make great burgers and meatloaf!


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