Final draft of city 2040 master plan reviewed
By Grace Lovins
The final draft of Birmingham’s 2040 Master Plan, formally called The Birmingham Plan 2040, was reviewed by the city's planning board on Wednesday, September 14, with the recommendation that the mandatory 63-day distribution period be authorized by the city commission.
A work in progress for over two years, the 2040 master plan includes recommendations for future land use, supporting mixed-use districts, advancing sustainability practices, embracing managed growth and retaining neighborhood quality. While drafting began in 2019, the planning consultants received direction from the city commission to begin working on the third and final draft on April 18, 2022.
At Wednesday night's meeting, planning board chairperson Scott Clein emphasized that the planning board’s obligation at hand was to decide whether to recommend that the city commission authorize the distribution period for the public to review the final draft.
The city is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act to provide at minimum a 63-day distribution period where the public will have the opportunity to review the final draft and submit comments. The draft will be sent to surrounding municipalities, Oakland County, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), CN North America, Public Utilities and SMART for review as well.
Board member Daniel Share began the discussion noting that while he believes it is a terrific plan, there are minor adjustments needed in the introduction. He noted that the section is too long and merits more positivity, an opinion shared by board members Janelle Boyce and Bert Koseck. Boyce echoed Share’s comments about the length of the introduction and pointed out incorrect spellings and language not suited for a master plan.
Koseck noted that the flaw in the context of the plan is in the narrative, as it does not provide a positive picture of the city.
“The general planning aspects of this, what I would expect in a master plan, I think are wonderful and I’m excited by us being able to use it as a tool as we do our work in the future. Bu, the flaw to me is in the narrative and it begins with the very first page, the context,” Koseck said. “It’s a bit frightening and it’s not positive. … If there is a narrative it should really represent who it is that we are.”
Given the shared opinions on the introductory section, Share stated that it would be appropriate for the board to give thought to being more involved in the writing of the final draft.
Along with the other members of the board, Clein said that he believed the plan was well thought out and ready to move forward for public distribution. While the public will be able to access the final draft, board member Bryan Williams noted that it will be adjusted based on comments from the public and the organizations that will also receive a copy, so the finalized plan may not be the same as the final draft.