City approves Master Plan; township on deck

Alex Doty • Apr 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM

After two years of work, the city has a new Master Plan in place.

Grand Haven City Council recently approved the updated plan, which was modified with the help of the Land Information Access Association and University of Michigan.

“In 2014, we started our update, which we do every five years,” Grand Haven Community Development Manager Jennifer Howland said.

Work on the Resilient Grand Haven Master Plan began in the spring of 2014 with a focus on improving the city's capacity to absorb future shocks and stresses, as well as building "resilience" across a spectrum of issues such as natural resource preservation, efforts to enhance the local economy and ways to manage the impacts of climate variability.

“We started with a really solid Master Plan, so we didn’t have to change a whole lot of it,” Howland said. “There are sections we kept very much the same and updated references to redevelopment that’s happened since 2010.”

During the two-year project, several large community meetings took place to help shape the goals and objectives of the plan. A total of 21 overarching goals cover community development topics such as transportation, land use, housing and overall community resilience.

“We partnered with Grand Haven Township for much of the public engagement process,” Howland said.

The township’s Planning Commission hosted a public hearing Monday night for its plan revision, and the Township Board is expected to adopt the plan later this spring.

The city’s revised plan includes a current socio-economic profile for the city and a vulnerability analysis that identifies risks pertaining to climate variability. 

“The main part that we focused on were the goals and objectives,” Howland explained. “There’s a new section called ’Resiliency,’ where there are several objectives that we added on that reference the focus, which was looking at how our community can adapt to changes in economic stresses.”

An example of such an economic stressor would question what other aspects of the economy could keep the area moving ahead should a big manufacturer shut down its operations.

Howland also noted that the new plan takes a ”holistic approach“ to make sure city leaders are looking at all aspects of the community when deciding how to develop it in the future.

Even though the Master Plan is approved, planning officials say they still want to use the services of the Land Information Access Association to see some of the plan’s goals through.

“We’re continuing to work with LIAA and the U-M on some potential implementation strategies,” Howland said. “They’re going to look at our zoning ordinance and identify some potential changes we can make to implement some of these changes, so we’re excited to work on that.”

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