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Posted on Fri, Oct 9, 2009 : 9:14 a.m.

Pittsfield Township to rewrite master plan

By Dan Meisler

Pittsfield Township kicked off its master plan revision process Thursday, an overhaul officials say will help determine future development in the township. 

Officials and community members say they hope to have the master plan rewritten by the end of 2010. 

On Thursday, about 40 people representing different organizations met at the township hall to form subcommittees that would guide the process.

By state law, townships with planning commissions and zoning ordinances are required to have master plans that govern zoning and land use. Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said updating Pittsfield's has been one of her top priorities since being elected last November.

"It's time for us to start thinking strategically about who we are," she told the assembled subcommittee members. "When things do pick up (economically), we will have a plan in place to move forward in a coherent and strategic manner."

Grewal added she wants the new master plan to be as much of a policy document as a planning document, meaning it would help township officials set policy rather than simply sitting on the shelf.

"It's going to be the center of what happens in Pittsfield Township from here on forward," she said.

McKenna Associates of Northville was hired by the township board in August to help write the plan. The contract is worth about $70,000, and runs through the end of next year.

Amy Chestnut, senior principal planner at McKenna, outlined the process of developing the plan, which includes public workshops starting in November, design charettes in February, a draft ready by next summer and final approval by the Board of Trustees in winter 2010.

She said public input is crucial.

"We are hoping by this process we plan to have that there is buy-in from the community and we do get action from the plan," she said.

Economic development was also at the top of the priority list, Chestnut added. With increased economic mobility, companies are looking for places that have a well-educated and talented workforce to locate in, she said.

"We want to make sure Pittsfield is a place talent wants to live," she said.

State law requires master plans be reviewed every five years. The township's current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2002, and revised in 2006.

Eight subcommittees were created Wednesday: Special Community Input; Community Infrastructure; Arts, Culture and Leisure; Economic Development; Green; Housing; Open Space, Agriculture and Natural Features; and Transportation and Land Use.

Some of the agencies and organizations represented at the event included the Michigan Department of Transportation; the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority; U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn; the chambers of commerce of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti; and Washtenaw County.

The Web site for the "2010 Pittsfield Plan" will contain a calendar of events, planning documents, and places for citizens to provide input on the process.

Freelance reporter Dan Meisler can be reached at


Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 9:42 a.m.

Let's build more hurdles to business growth and employment. Why make it easier to grow your company and hire people?