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Chikaming Township to seek input during open house

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Northville-based municipal services firm McKenna Associates is assisting Chikaming Township with an update of its Zoning Ordinance. To begin the process, the Township is looking for input from its residents.

“Before we start the Ordinance revision process, we need to hear from our residents,” said Township Supervisor David Bunte. “We are looking forward to hearing what residents think the future should look like in Chikaming Township, and how we can use zoning to get to there.”

The Zoning Ordinance is being updated to provide more efficient standards for the use of land in Chikaming Township and implementing the goals of the Township’s recently adopted Master Plan. One of the Township’s top priorities is enhancing the character of the community centers within the Township, including Sawyer, Harbert, Lakeside, and Union Pier. The Township is also committed to protecting its lakefront, farmlands, woodlands, and other natural areas.

In order to develop the specifics, the Township needs to hear from its citizens.

“As we look toward the future of the Township, we need to make sure that our vision is shared by our residents,” Bunte said. “Our zoning ordinance should reflect the improvements the residents want in their community.”

In order to do that, the Township is hosting an open house from 7 to 9 p.m. on February 8 at Chikaming Township Hall. The format will be free-form, with participants free to arrive whenever it is convenient for them and to stay for as long as they want. Professionals from McKenna and officials from the Township’s Zoning Ordinance Steering Committee will be on hand to listen to ideas and concerns.

“I want to see our Township Hall packed with people,” Bunte said. “We want as many residents to participate as possible.”

Throughout the Ordinance update process, the Steering Committee will be convening focus groups with residents who are interested in a particular topic, such as lakefront preservation, commercial development, agriculture, and residential neighborhoods. Residents who are interested can sign up at the open house or contact Steering Committee co-chairs Dick Carlson (rcarlson@chikamingtownship.org) and Gary Wood (gwood@chikamingtownship.org).

The Steering Committee will also provide periodic email updates to interested residents. Residents can sign up for those updates at the open house as well, or can contact the Township at 269-469-1676.

After a series of interviews this fall, the Steering Committee engaged McKenna as a consultant to assist with the process. The McKenna team includes Senior Vice President Chris Doozan, AICP, Principal Planner Chris Khorey, AICP, and Senior Principal Consultant Rebecca Harvey, AICP.

“We’re very excited to be working in Chikaming Township,” Doozan said. “It’s a beautiful community with a lot of potential. We’re hoping to develop an ordinance that both achieves the goals of the Master Plan and is easy to use.”

The Ordinance ultimately will provide the Planning Commission and Township Board with information they need to make decisions about land use and policy. The Township aims to adopt the new Ordinance by the end of 2017.

On a daily basis, McKenna Associates provides community planning, landscape architecture, urban design, zoning, economic development, community relations, public participation, and municipal wireless services to more than 150 cities, counties, townships, villages and select private firms across the Midwest. McKenna’s success can be measured by its 33-year history of longstanding relationships with municipalities that value the creative spirit embodied by the firm’s team of professionals and its concept-driven approach to problem-solving. Headquartered in Northville, Michigan, McKenna maintains branch offices in Kalamazoo and Detroit. For more information about McKenna Associates, call 888-226-4326 or visit www.mcka.com.