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Attention Planners in the State of Michigan


Ready to Learn
I have a couple of questions, but first some background.

In January of 2002, Michigan passed Public Acts 263, 264, and 265 of 2001 to amend our planning laws in several significant ways. Four major points are:

1) All municipal jurisdictions are to first notify neighboring jurisdictions, the county, the region, and any registered public utility company, railroad, or other governmental entities (such as a DDA) of the municipality's intention to amend, revise or create a totally new plan.

2) The notice requests the recipient's cooperation in the planning process and asks for the recipient's comments. Once a draft plan is created and authorized for distribution by the proposing community, the notified entities are asked to review and make comment on the proposed plan.

3) The review comments are transmitted to the jurisdiction proposing the new plan. Additionally, the neighboring jurisdictions and the regional planning commission must also send a copy of their comments to the county government within which the proposing municipally resides.

4) The county then provides comments, including a two-part consistency review. First, the county must make a statement regarding whether the proposed plan is inconsistent with the neighboring jurisdiction’s plan, and second, determine whether the proposed plan is inconsistent with the county’s plan, if such a county plan exists.

All municipalities need to be in conformance with the new legislation by January 9, 2003.

Above text modified from http://www.planningmi.org/news/legislation.htm and used without permission.

First, regarding point #1, how many of you have received cooperation from adjacent municipalities and registered entities? Second, what exactly is a registered entity? Can anyone, say Joe and Jane Citizen, become a registered entity, or is that limited to entities such as utilities and other groups or individuals that service the municipality? And finally, even though the new laws don't require the municipality to incorporate comments into the new plan, it seems like the right thing to do, especially if it is a small municipality where everyone knows everyone else. On this point, when comments are incorporated into the plan, can you just add them to an appendix to the plan, or do you have to make a good faith effort to incorporate them into the actual text of the plan? If you do incorporate the comments in the plan, then inevitably some comments won't make it in and some will. So if the plan is from a small community and everyone know everyone else, and if you selected good comments from irrelevant comments and included just the good ones, then how do you deal with the people who will be offended becasue you didn't include their comments?

Thanks! I look forward to your helpful comments.


My two most recent experiences:
1) In Mazomanie, WI, the Village invited both a member from each of the adjacent towns to sit on its planning committee when it wrote its comprehensive plan. On town, in particular, was very much in cuncurrance with the village's vision, to the point of recommending that it annex a piece of land from the town for industrial development.
2) Here, the relationship is more rocky. We are good about keeping the surrounding towns informed (although they like to say we are not). Still, it is very seldom that there is any agreement or cooperation. Some seem likely to oppose anything the city wants to do, regardless of any benefit to them. Still, another did provide some coments on our west neighborhood plan, and several very good ones at that.


I would suggest that a registered entity is any person, or corporate body that has specifically requested to be informed. It could be a single individual who has an interest in planning.

As for the cross jurisdictional items, I know that when the province did some plannign along teh St. Croix River they tried to ontegrate some of it with Maine, but there is also a formal international commission in place for that river. I have also consulted with adjacent jurisdictions when doing plans on the outskirts of major Cities.

Requesting comments and having to include them is 2 different things. Our act requires that we hear comments, it says nothing on acting upon them or including them. Some comments are frivolous and foolish while others may merit consideration and action.

SW MI Planner

Beaner - you'r in MI? Where the heck have I been? Maybe I knew that and just forgot....

We just updated our master plan in December and didn't have to comply with those rules, but pretty much did so anyway - sent notices to adjacent communities, utilities, the county, etc. The only group that wanted to actually sit down and review the plan was the local USDA/Soil Conservation/NRCS (very rural over here). They ended up not having any comments/concerns.

I would think you would want to try to address any comments/concerns as early as possible. There might actually be valid points that you would want to include in the plan. Perhaps when sending other juridsictions the draft, place a time limit for their comments (usually they have what, 30 days to get their comments in?) and announce the time/day of one of the public hearings, letting them know that all comments received will be discussed at this time. Regardless of their comments, the local entity needs to discuss and decide what goes into the plan. Having ideas discussed in a public forum where the PC would be able to provide an explanation regarding why some comments are valid, and why some aren't, would help to hopefully maintain friendly relations.

Plus, then the balls in the other entities court to get to the meeting to ensure that their ideas are discussed and possibly included in the plan. However, some ideas of the half baked off the wall variety shouldn't be in the plan regardless of any possible hard feelings.

I would include all 'official' comments/correspondance into an appendix for future referene. The minutes of said public hearing would provide documentation to show why certain comments may or may not have been included in the actual plan.

Hope this helps...