Bloomfield Township to review master plan
By Kevin Elliott
With the vast majority of residential property in Bloomfield Township is already developed, the active reinvestment boom in housing property is a blessing to the municipality, and one that requires appropriate planning to guide the township into the future.
Patty Voelker, director of planning, building and ordinance for Bloomfield Township, told the township planning commission on Wednesday, October 19, that guiding those reinvestment projects are just one aspect the township’s long-range master plan document for future development, as the planning commission looks to update it.
“Whether it’s tearing down and building new or substantial renovations, there is a reinvestment occurring in the township we are very fortunate to see,” Voelker said. “To that end, sometimes that results in having to look at what our standards are. We implemented new driveway permit standards, so when we have a house that wants to build a new driveway, they have to submit for a driveway permit. We look at water runoff, stormwater runoff and the natural water courses, and the fact that we can’t drain on someone else’s property and those negative impacts.”
The explanation was part of an overall review of the township’s existing master plan and a proposed update that was accepted by the planning commission. The commission also forwarded the master plan review and update to the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees with a recommendation they approve it.
A master plan serves as a guide for all future growth and development in the community. While zoning maps and ordinances are means to enforce planning and development requirements, the master plan is the broader document that guide those tools.
The township’s current master plan was approved in 2007 and amended once, in 2018. The plan is reviewed and updated every five years. While development of a completely new master plan is typically a nine to 12 month process, the review and update includes minor adjustments and a renewed commitment to the existing plan.
Voelker said the master plan has remained largely consistent throughout its existence. She said the 2018 amendment addressed housing and commercial concerns at Squirrel Road and South Boulevard. Further, she said planning commission decisions based on the current zoning regulations are consistent with the master plan.
Voelker presented several implementation tables reflecting actions taken on the goals and objectives of the master plan in the past five years. The review included future land uses; housing and neighborhood recommendations; natural features; local economy and marketplace; and transportation. Overall, she said the actions have supported the spirit of the master plan. Still, there are some areas where minor updates are needed.
Public parks, for instance, is an area where the township can expect to see development which is not fully addressed in the plan.
“We have seen more planned unit developments in the past five years, where schools sell property to developers, and there’s always a standard related to open space or recreational space,” Voelker said. “Even though it’s a private requirement, it supplies a park opportunity – but not a public park. There are golf courses and school areas that have recreation, but not township-owned property. I expect that will be pursued in the next master plan, and more focused and featured as a topic.”
Planning commissioners approved the plan by a vote of 5-0. The plan will go next to the board of trustees for consideration for final approval.