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Thread: Plans for large tracts of municipal land

  1. #1
    Member
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    Plans for large tracts of municipal land

    Hello All.

    Our City is the proud owner of nearly 2400 acres of land acquired via a purchase from a former timber company. A portion of the land is located within our City limits and a larer portion is outside of our jurisdiction.

    I am looking for some assitance with regards to the names of any municipalities out there who have experience with a similar situation.

    Our Commission has asked for examples of plans/planning processes from similar situations.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Time to start revising your masterplan ti incorporate this new area.

    EDIT: sorry that comment doesn't really help you. You should find information about Denver's masterplanning and redevelopment of the old Stapleton Airport property. That would be pretty similar.
    Last edited by mendelman; 14 Aug 2007 at 3:02 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Wow, great!

    Do you have a Comprehensive Plan?
    Do you have a Future Land Use Plan?

    What is the condition of the property? Forest land is usually good high ground. Has it been recently clear-cut?

    What is the county zoning for the property?

    What are the uses of surrounding property?

    What is your community lacking? Housing? Schools?

    You did not mention the size of your community nor anything about current economic health. Would you want to try to attract a corporate regional branch?

    You did not mention if you were on an interstate or similar important transportation route.

    You have enough land accummulated to attract a significant "industry or new business. "Do you already have a nucleus of certain businesses that this could supplement if another similar business is brought it? (Like, are you known as a furniture manufacturing center, automotive supplier, military suppliers, or such?)

    I would recommend interviewing consultants in the field that can recommend the highest and best use.

    I would recommend considering preserving Floodplain lands for future parks and vehiclular routes.

    I would recommend advertising for developer proposals for evalualtion for highest and best use concepts and financial methods to accomplish their plan.

    I recommend a Public Hearing for suggested uses of the property.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    First, this is a great opportunity for your city. I haven't run across too many greenfield development opportunities on city-owned land, but there are plenty of examples for grey/brownfield redevelopment, particularly airports.

    Mueller Airport in Austin is a pretty good example: Link

    For how the City approached it: Link Though it was a redevelopment plan rather than a greenfield plan, I think you could probably use their same process for creating a plan. Austin developed a plan and then sent out a RFQ or RFP (don't remember which) for its redevelopment, with the plan used as a basis. There's a link to the project manager's email on that page--she could probably give you some good insight to their process.
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 14 Aug 2007 at 4:24 PM.

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  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    Wow, great!

    Do you have a Comprehensive Plan?
    Do you have a Future Land Use Plan?

    What is the condition of the property? Forest land is usually good high ground. Has it been recently clear-cut?

    What is the county zoning for the property?

    What are the uses of surrounding property?

    What is your community lacking? Housing? Schools?

    You did not mention the size of your community nor anything about current economic health. Would you want to try to attract a corporate regional branch?

    You did not mention if you were on an interstate or similar important transportation route.

    You have enough land accummulated to attract a significant "industry or new business. "Do you already have a nucleus of certain businesses that this could supplement if another similar business is brought it? (Like, are you known as a furniture manufacturing center, automotive supplier, military suppliers, or such?)

    I would recommend interviewing consultants in the field that can recommend the highest and best use.

    I would recommend considering preserving Floodplain lands for future parks and vehiclular routes.

    I would recommend advertising for developer proposals for evalualtion for highest and best use concepts and financial methods to accomplish their plan.

    I recommend a Public Hearing for suggested uses of the property.
    He says that he is in Marquette, MI, which is well removed from any I-route (US 41 is the main connection to the south), but is not that inconvenient to find or get to. The area also does have decent connections to the east and west.

    Is it possible to annex the non-city limits parts of that land to the city? You will want to make sure that any private development in that area can contribute to your city's tax base.

    Good luck! That is a rare opportunity for a city in an area like yours.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Member
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    I'll try and explain a bit more what the concerns are and narrow it down a bit.

    We do have a Master Plan and have already idenitifed the potential uses for the portions of the and that lies within out City limits. In fact, we developed a separate land use plan for that area and most of it is recommended for "Watershed Residential" (a cluster style residential development) due to the steep slopes and other natural characteristics of the land.

    We do not have any exisitng plans for the property that lies outside of our borders and when the City purchased the property a few years ago, the "sell" to the community was to purchae the land for passive and active recreation with small pockets to develop for potential economic growth...pretty broad statement but specific enough to send a message to the community.

    Now here comes the specifc problem:

    There are a number of groups that are "interested" in the property and the Commission is receiving pressure from them to "do something."

    The recommendation coming from us (staff) is that the City should maintain the focus on why the property was purchased and consider hiring a consultant guide the process and create a separate plan for the property located outside of the City and tie it to the exisitng Master Plan.

    The Commission, on the other hand, is receiving pressure from the "interested" groups to create a committee of 13 people or so from the these groups to identify how the property should be used.

    Now, we could do the plan in-house but it IMHO, trying to oversee that committee would be like trying to herd cats. Therefore, I am trying to convince the Commission to look for firms with experience in planning these large tracts of land and farm the work out.

    That way we could pass on the "committee" and let the visioning/futuring be the format where the input is received...besides, someone is always left off a committee, whereas, you can justify asking if they attended a visoning session.

    Anyhow...the Commission has aked for me to produce examples of similar projects in other communites and I would like to find a few where consultants were brought in to assist for the reasons listed above.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Talk to the planners in North Las Vegas, NV. They had a huge piece of land that BLM opened up for development that essentially doubled the size of the City. They had big plans to develop it in a more upscale fashion to try to lose some of their poor image.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    This one's for TIDE

    What does the County think about this area? What does their master plan say for this area? Wouldn't any development outside of the town limits be subject to the County regulations, unless the town intends to annex? Does Michigan have a statutory area of influence for communities, granting authority even though the area isn't annexed yet? Just how powerful are counties in Michigan? Florida Powerful or Colorado Powerful?

    With that much property, any wetlands or environmentally important areas should be identified quickly and removed from development consideration. The area close to the existing limits could be a great place to encourage residential development, parks or even industrial, depending on what it borders and what the community needs to become more sustainable or well rounded. How about schools? Definitely consider phasing development and be sure not to fall for the "let me develop at the outter edges, cause its cheaper" trap.

    Are these "interested groups" developers or just politico citizen types?
    Skilled Adoxographer

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Disclaimer: I am a planning consultant located in the upper midwest. Having said that, of course we have completed plans for several areas like this. Some have been owned or controlled by the community, others may be large tracts owned by a single developer, and others may be areas under multiple ownership.

    It sounds like the process would be to receive input regarding potential opportunities and perhaps corroborate them with a market analysis, do a good bit of public consensus-building, and create a master plan for the property.

    Send me a private message with what you are looking for and I will see if I can pull any examples from my files. I usually keep the RFP's other communities send us and could e-mail a couple similar ones to you.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    This one's for TIDE
    I'm out at training all day, but I will try to find time tonight to answer this one.
    @GigCityPlanner

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    UP Planner:
    HTML code:
    The recommendation coming from us (staff) is that the City 
    should maintain the focus on why the property was purchased 
    and consider hiring a consultant guide the process and create 
    a separate plan for the property located outside of the City 
    and tie it to the exisitng Master Plan.
    Excellent. I would recommend advertising for proposals by such consultants including requirements that they demonstrate what they have accomplished with completed projects (or projects actually under construction).

    HTML code:
    UP PLanner:  The Commission, on the other hand, is receiving 
    pressure from the "interested" groups to create a committee 
    of 13 people or so from the these groups to identify how 
    the property should be used.
    I would recommend that the city consider naming the committee as a special advisory only committee to recommend evaluation of proposals to your Planning Commission. They will invariably recommend other things (which will probably have some merit), but their main focus can be limited to advice on the selection of the consultant, and then on the plan itself. This way you can have an experienced professional consultant and an advisory committee.

    Thirteen may be too many, because any more than about nine limits discussion time available for everyone to have a chance to speak to an issue at any given session. Plus five is a very reasonable quorum.

    Do you have a strong Alderman that you can trust and use to support you? If so, you may want to request that he head up the advisory committee. This could funnel and sift a lot of the miscellaneous off-the-wall distractive suggestions that would otherwise be coming to you.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I'm out at training all day, but I will try to find time tonight to answer this one.
    OK, Now that I'm finally at my desk for more than 15 minutes I can give this question a little more thought.

    Easiest solution would be to annex this land into the city.
    If you work well with the County you could have joint meetings, communication is EVERYTHING in County/City Incorporated/Unincorporated areas as I have learned very quickly.

    Though my fair county has not been in a situation where a municipality has come across a large tract of land such as this I would tell you that the county's vision and the municipality's may differ and that is why a meeting to discuss options will be your first move. For example, do you want to develop it and the county preserve it? Or Vice Versa?

    I believe in ends justifying the means, so once you identify your goal for this land then decide what is most effective.

    Good Luck!
    @GigCityPlanner

  13. #13
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    Well I'm making some headway towards helping the Commission understand that it may be more beneficial to have a "steering committee" oversee the work of a consultant that specializes in the large tract recreation planning.

    The original purchase of the property was for recreation and limited economic development. I (and a majority of the Planning Commission) believe that we have the economic portion covered in our current Master Plan (see previous post about special land use plan) and that style of development assists us a ton more between our borders than on someone elses tax rolls.

    Since our Commission would never think of annexation, it would be best to keep the non-taxable recreation land in the adjoining municipalities.

    There will be a special work session in a few weeks to look at some options...I'll let you know how it plays out.

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