Permit Process

Mt. Pleasant MI City Administration Planning Zoning 48858 Isabella County

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ordinance, the Master Plan, and the Other Plan

The chronicles of Mt. Pleasant, MI Planning and Zoning

The Ordinance, the Master Plan, ...

Morning Sun10 Pages 25 Cents

Friday March 2, 1984

Zoning ordinance set for vote

By PHIL BLANKENHORN
Sun Staff Writer

A new zoning ordinance is scheduled for consideration and action by the Mt. Pleasant City Commission Monday night.

According to a summary of the ordinance that was three years in the making. its purpose is "to provide a better organization of the text, eliminate confusing 'legalese,' to take advantage of new techniques in zoning and to strengthen the ordinance in key areas of mutual concern."

Most importantly, according to planning commission Secretary David Pasquale, the ordinance tightens up density requirements for apartments and rooming houses. Future rooming house and apartment house developments will not be able to fit as many renters in as small a space as in the past.

"The ordinance makes a statement — that allowable density was too high in the past, Mr. Pasquale said.

The new ordinance does not affect existing rooming houses and apartments. They are protected, or "grandfathered," and cannot he changed by the new ordinance, Mr. Pasquale said.

Realtors contacted who were familiar with ordinance said they had no objection to it.

"The changes are very modest, really." said Warren Crandall. realtor with Century 21. The decreasing of square footage for construction of duplexes and the increasing density requirements for apartments is a good trade off, he said.

Currently, 9,800 square feet of land is required for construction of a duplex, under the new ordinance it would be reduced to 8,800 square feet.

Under the current ordinance, 200 square feet of Iiving space and 600 square feet of land area are required for each apartment resident. The new ordinance would extend that to 300 square feet of living area and 900 square feet of land area, a density reduction of about one-third.

Lowering of the land requirement for duplexes is expected to help revitalize some marginal areas, especially in older neighborhoods, Mr Pasquale said.

One part of the ordinance would require at least 25 percent of side yards and rear yards of apartments and rooming houses to he green areas. Since parking requirements for multi-unit dwellings are also being tightened, this will have a further effect in reducing density, Mr. Pasquale said.

Requirements would change from one parking space for two beds to one and one half spaces for two beds.

The Rev. John Goodrow of St. John's Episcopal Church said the ordinance is a good idea, but added it could — and should have been done — much earlier. He also said zoning changes will have no immediate affect on neighborhoods because of the allowing of existing rooming houses and apartments. "I hope eventually the single families will move back into the (south neighborhood area)," he said.

"Greed and the profit motive were our worst enemy," he said. The Rev. Goodrow said many landlords created situations that led to the deterioration of neighborhoods by taking advantage of the desire of Central Michigan University students to live off campus, with some landlords not properly maintaining student rental units.

"Some of the older houses were very nicely converted, but some are just junk," he said.

But problems in the area near campus may have been taken care of by declining student enrollment expected over the next 20 years, he said. The poorest rental units will not find renters in the future, he said.

Henry Fulton, chairman of the South Neighborhood Action Group, said his group supports the new ordinance. He also said he hopes the ordinance will have the effect of bringing single-family residents back to the area.

The buildup of rental units in the south neighborhood began years ago, when CMU dropped its policy of inspecting and approving off-campus housing for students, the Rev. Goodrow said.

He also, blamed the communty for not not taking action sooner.

(See "Zoning - " on page 3)

Street Map

PROJECTED CHANGE — The shaded areas are to be zoned for one- and two-family dwellings in the proposed Mt. Pleasant Zoning Ordinance, scheduled for a public bearing and possible adoption Monday night by the city commission. These particular districts in the south neighborhood were created in response to a resident petition seeking to protect the area from further apartment development.

Page 3

Zoning

A committee composed of three planning commissioners and Mr. Pasquale held weekly sessions to draw up the new ordinance starting in summer 1981 Committee members were Herman Otto, Sue Nichols and Betty Clason.

Much public input was received regarding apartment and rooming house density last summer, according to committee members. Ideas for tightening density requirements came from public hearings, although the planning commmission was already considenng the matter, Mr. Pasquale said.

A 168-name petition was presented by Ken McCleary on Aug. 11 to create a zone free from future apartment and rooming house development in the area between downtown and campus.

The planning commission also incorporated this request (although narrowing the boundaries) into the new ordinance in drawing up the new zoning map.

Residents of the south neighborhood attended city commission and planning commission meetings to complain that the area was deteriorating because of overdevelopment.

Residents expressed concern about houses in the neighborhood being damaged by renters and about the high student concentration — and their parties — which they said caused disruption and even fear in the area.

Opposition was also expressed to parts of the new ordinance last summer. Some residents of the area to be frozen from future apartment development said the resale value of their homes would drop since no one would be able to buy the property for a profitable conversion into multi-dwelling units.

But despite a series of public hearings and a number of planning commission and city commission work sessions on the new ordinance, there have been no negative comments from the public on the ordinance. Nor have their been complaints that the ordinance does not go far enough, Mr. Pasquale said.

When zoning violations occur the city can take the offender to court, he said. If the city finds out about a zoning violation, for example, the unlicensed use of a single-family home for apartments, that use would not be allowed and owners could he forced to conform he said.

Enforcement of the ordinances is through the building inspector's office, Mr. Pasquale said.

Morning Sun10 Pages 25 Cents

Tuesday March 6, 1984

Commission approves tighter zoning code

By PHIL BLANKENHORN
Sun Staff Writer

A new Mt Pleasant Zoning Ordinance was passed by the city commission Monday night, although plans are already being made to amend it.

However, the ordinance was not passed without criticism. The upshot of the public comment was an agreement to consider revamping three areas of the zoning map at a public hearing scheduled for April 16. On the public hearing's agenda are requests to:
— Eliminate the Main Street corridor zone as a multi-unit dwelling development zone;
— Extend the single-family dwelling district marked out in the south neighborhood area;
— And rezone a five-block section of Pickard Street from a residential to an office service district.

The city commission decided to pass the ordinance despite its stated intent of amending it next month. If the entire ordinance was held up until the zoning map issues were resolved, it would have meant an approximate 60-day delay in passage since the zoning ordinance does not go into effect until 30 days after passage, Mayor Gary Knight said.

Plans made to amend ordinance

At the March 1 meeting of the city planning commission, city officials were criticized by area residents for not passing the ordinance more quickly.

The new ordinance tightens density requirements for apartment and rooming houses and limits the area where they can be located. However, existing multi-dwelling units cannot be altered — and the more restrictive ordinance has been discussed and debated publicly since last summer.

This has resulted in a large number of apartment and rooming house developers seeking approval before the new ordinance goes into effect in order to have their projects considered under the current ordinance, according to David Pasquale, planning commission secretary.

The city commission also was presented with complaints on an ordinance provision that lowers land required for building duplexes (from the current 9,800 square feet of land to 8,800) but, after some debate, the commission decided to keep it in the ordinance.

Planning commission member Betty Clason argued that lowering duplex restrictions would help revitalize older neighborhoods. Larger and older houses in the city would much more easily be maintained if split into two-family units. "The cost of upkeep and utilities would be more managable," she said.

Mayor Knight sought elimination of the Main Street corridor — “it's a bad idea,” he said, adding that throughout the area, rental property abuts single-family property. This could lead to property owners requesting zoning changes based on the use of property immediately adjacent to them. The corridor was originally approved for multi-dwelling housing because of the prevalence of rental property now there.

The city commission also agreed to consider extending the single-family dwelling area in the south neighborhood based on a petition by Henry Fulton, chairman of the South Neighborhood Action Group.

The petition seeks a ban on multi-dwelling unit development in an area bounded by Fancher, Bellows and Main streets on the southwest side of the originally planned single-family residential district.

On Mayor Knight's suggestion, a five-block section on the south side of Pickard Avenue, one lot deep, from Arnold to University streets, would be zoned for office development — instead of residentLal — as currently planned. He said the section is across the street from an industrial area and zoning change would make a good transition area. The area was first scheduled to be zoned general business, but neighborhood objections downed the idea.

In other action, the city commission rejected a rezoning request, from single-family residential to multi-unit dwelling, at 902 and 906 S. Franklin streets and 904, 905 and 906 S. University Street.

The commission made its decision based on a density study by city staff that pointed to the large number of multi-unit dwelling units already in the area.

City of Mt. Pleasant Master PlanJuly 2006 - Current

"Ensure that an appropriate mix of residential uses is available in the City by increasing the opportunities for owner-occupied housing while discouraging conversions and expansions of non-family rentals."

... and the Other Plan

Morning Sun Tuesday March 13, 2012

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Smith said ... planners, city staffers and the Zoning Board of Appeals had worked out a method to use variances so developers got what they wanted – and the city got what it wanted.

Authorized and properly adopted procedures and standards are not what the community wanted ???

The 'Other Plan' is not statutorily authorized; likewise, its method of implementation, worked out by planners, city staffers and the Zoning Board of Appeals, is illegal(Felony). Nevertheless, city officials continue implementation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ordinance, the Master Plan, and the Other Plan

The chronicles of Mt. Pleasant, MI Planning and Zoning

The Ordinance, the Master Plan, ...

Morning Sun10 Pages 25 Cents

Friday March 2, 1984

Zoning ordinance set for vote

By PHIL BLANKENHORN
Sun Staff Writer

A new zoning ordinance is scheduled for consideration and action by the Mt. Pleasant City Commission Monday night.

According to a summary of the ordinance that was three years in the making. its purpose is "to provide a better organization of the text, eliminate confusing 'legalese,' to take advantage of new techniques in zoning and to strengthen the ordinance in key areas of mutual concern."

Most importantly, according to planning commission Secretary David Pasquale, the ordinance tightens up density requirements for apartments and rooming houses. Future rooming house and apartment house developments will not be able to fit as many renters in as small a space as in the past.

"The ordinance makes a statement — that allowable density was too high in the past, Mr. Pasquale said.

The new ordinance does not affect existing rooming houses and apartments. They are protected, or "grandfathered," and cannot he changed by the new ordinance, Mr. Pasquale said.

Realtors contacted who were familiar with ordinance said they had no objection to it.

"The changes are very modest, really." said Warren Crandall. realtor with Century 21. The decreasing of square footage for construction of duplexes and the increasing density requirements for apartments is a good trade off, he said.

Currently, 9,800 square feet of land is required for construction of a duplex, under the new ordinance it would be reduced to 8,800 square feet.

Under the current ordinance, 200 square feet of Iiving space and 600 square feet of land area are required for each apartment resident. The new ordinance would extend that to 300 square feet of living area and 900 square feet of land area, a density reduction of about one-third.

Lowering of the land requirement for duplexes is expected to help revitalize some marginal areas, especially in older neighborhoods, Mr Pasquale said.

One part of the ordinance would require at least 25 percent of side yards and rear yards of apartments and rooming houses to he green areas. Since parking requirements for multi-unit dwellings are also being tightened, this will have a further effect in reducing density, Mr. Pasquale said.

Requirements would change from one parking space for two beds to one and one half spaces for two beds.

The Rev. John Goodrow of St. John's Episcopal Church said the ordinance is a good idea, but added it could — and should have been done — much earlier. He also said zoning changes will have no immediate affect on neighborhoods because of the allowing of existing rooming houses and apartments. "I hope eventually the single families will move back into the (south neighborhood area)," he said.

"Greed and the profit motive were our worst enemy," he said. The Rev. Goodrow said many landlords created situations that led to the deterioration of neighborhoods by taking advantage of the desire of Central Michigan University students to live off campus, with some landlords not properly maintaining student rental units.

"Some of the older houses were very nicely converted, but some are just junk," he said.

But problems in the area near campus may have been taken care of by declining student enrollment expected over the next 20 years, he said. The poorest rental units will not find renters in the future, he said.

Henry Fulton, chairman of the South Neighborhood Action Group, said his group supports the new ordinance. He also said he hopes the ordinance will have the effect of bringing single-family residents back to the area.

The buildup of rental units in the south neighborhood began years ago, when CMU dropped its policy of inspecting and approving off-campus housing for students, the Rev. Goodrow said.

He also, blamed the communty for not not taking action sooner.

(See "Zoning - " on page 3)

Street Map

PROJECTED CHANGE — The shaded areas are to be zoned for one- and two-family dwellings in the proposed Mt. Pleasant Zoning Ordinance, scheduled for a public bearing and possible adoption Monday night by the city commission. These particular districts in the south neighborhood were created in response to a resident petition seeking to protect the area from further apartment development.

Page 3

Zoning

A committee composed of three planning commissioners and Mr. Pasquale held weekly sessions to draw up the new ordinance starting in summer 1981 Committee members were Herman Otto, Sue Nichols and Betty Clason.

Much public input was received regarding apartment and rooming house density last summer, according to committee members. Ideas for tightening density requirements came from public hearings, although the planning commmission was already considenng the matter, Mr. Pasquale said.

A 168-name petition was presented by Ken McCleary on Aug. 11 to create a zone free from future apartment and rooming house development in the area between downtown and campus.

The planning commission also incorporated this request (although narrowing the boundaries) into the new ordinance in drawing up the new zoning map.

Residents of the south neighborhood attended city commission and planning commission meetings to complain that the area was deteriorating because of overdevelopment.

Residents expressed concern about houses in the neighborhood being damaged by renters and about the high student concentration — and their parties — which they said caused disruption and even fear in the area.

Opposition was also expressed to parts of the new ordinance last summer. Some residents of the area to be frozen from future apartment development said the resale value of their homes would drop since no one would be able to buy the property for a profitable conversion into multi-dwelling units.

But despite a series of public hearings and a number of planning commission and city commission work sessions on the new ordinance, there have been no negative comments from the public on the ordinance. Nor have their been complaints that the ordinance does not go far enough, Mr. Pasquale said.

When zoning violations occur the city can take the offender to court, he said. If the city finds out about a zoning violation, for example, the unlicensed use of a single-family home for apartments, that use would not be allowed and owners could he forced to conform he said.

Enforcement of the ordinances is through the building inspector's office, Mr. Pasquale said.

Morning Sun10 Pages 25 Cents

Tuesday March 6, 1984

Commission approves tighter zoning code

By PHIL BLANKENHORN
Sun Staff Writer

A new Mt Pleasant Zoning Ordinance was passed by the city commission Monday night, although plans are already being made to amend it.

However, the ordinance was not passed without criticism. The upshot of the public comment was an agreement to consider revamping three areas of the zoning map at a public hearing scheduled for April 16. On the public hearing's agenda are requests to:
— Eliminate the Main Street corridor zone as a multi-unit dwelling development zone;
— Extend the single-family dwelling district marked out in the south neighborhood area;
— And rezone a five-block section of Pickard Street from a residential to an office service district.

The city commission decided to pass the ordinance despite its stated intent of amending it next month. If the entire ordinance was held up until the zoning map issues were resolved, it would have meant an approximate 60-day delay in passage since the zoning ordinance does not go into effect until 30 days after passage, Mayor Gary Knight said.

Plans made to amend ordinance

At the March 1 meeting of the city planning commission, city officials were criticized by area residents for not passing the ordinance more quickly.

The new ordinance tightens density requirements for apartment and rooming houses and limits the area where they can be located. However, existing multi-dwelling units cannot be altered — and the more restrictive ordinance has been discussed and debated publicly since last summer.

This has resulted in a large number of apartment and rooming house developers seeking approval before the new ordinance goes into effect in order to have their projects considered under the current ordinance, according to David Pasquale, planning commission secretary.

The city commission also was presented with complaints on an ordinance provision that lowers land required for building duplexes (from the current 9,800 square feet of land to 8,800) but, after some debate, the commission decided to keep it in the ordinance.

Planning commission member Betty Clason argued that lowering duplex restrictions would help revitalize older neighborhoods. Larger and older houses in the city would much more easily be maintained if split into two-family units. "The cost of upkeep and utilities would be more managable," she said.

Mayor Knight sought elimination of the Main Street corridor — “it's a bad idea,” he said, adding that throughout the area, rental property abuts single-family property. This could lead to property owners requesting zoning changes based on the use of property immediately adjacent to them. The corridor was originally approved for multi-dwelling housing because of the prevalence of rental property now there.

The city commission also agreed to consider extending the single-family dwelling area in the south neighborhood based on a petition by Henry Fulton, chairman of the South Neighborhood Action Group.

The petition seeks a ban on multi-dwelling unit development in an area bounded by Fancher, Bellows and Main streets on the southwest side of the originally planned single-family residential district.

On Mayor Knight's suggestion, a five-block section on the south side of Pickard Avenue, one lot deep, from Arnold to University streets, would be zoned for office development — instead of residentLal — as currently planned. He said the section is across the street from an industrial area and zoning change would make a good transition area. The area was first scheduled to be zoned general business, but neighborhood objections downed the idea.

In other action, the city commission rejected a rezoning request, from single-family residential to multi-unit dwelling, at 902 and 906 S. Franklin streets and 904, 905 and 906 S. University Street.

The commission made its decision based on a density study by city staff that pointed to the large number of multi-unit dwelling units already in the area.

City of Mt. Pleasant Master PlanJuly 2006 - Current

"Ensure that an appropriate mix of residential uses is available in the City by increasing the opportunities for owner-occupied housing while discouraging conversions and expansions of non-family rentals."

... and the Other Plan

Morning Sun Tuesday March 13, 2012

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Smith said ... planners, city staffers and the Zoning Board of Appeals had worked out a method to use variances so developers got what they wanted – and the city got what it wanted.

Authorized and properly adopted procedures and standards are not what the community wanted ???

The 'Other Plan' is not statutorily authorized; likewise, its method of implementation, worked out by planners, city staffers and the Zoning Board of Appeals, is illegal(Felony). Nevertheless, city officials continue implementation.