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Prioritization of master plan actions continues

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham’s planning board continued their study of the key actions included in the recently adopted 2040 Master Plan during the Wednesday, February 28, meeting, inching closer to selecting which projects they will focus on in 2024.

The city’s 2040 Master Plan was officially adopted by the city commission back in May 2023. Now onto the next steps, the city is responsible for prioritizing and considering the key actions listed in the plan, per the meeting packet. Planning director Nick Dupuis stated there are over 100 key actions laid out in the plan.

Planning board members began their review of the plan’s key actions in December with a high-level overview of the key actions and discussion on how to begin its implementation. During their January 10 meeting, the board looked at a reformatted key actions table given to them by the city’s planning division.

The reformatted version, as noted by Dupuis, is a more customized list of key actions, organized by which group would be considered the “primary agent for recommendation or action.” On January 24, the board continued their review of the table after previously suggesting city staff relocated some of the actions to other sections.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, board members shared their thoughts on the updated list made by the planning division. Dupuis said he made suggested changes to the placement of certain actions, and he separated ‘zoning code updates’ into a category that could be handled within a comprehensive update and another category that would require more attention from the planning board.

Board members continued offering their opinion on the placement of certain action items, including improvements of Old Woodward Avenue. The board also discussed the ‘zoning code updates’ category. Some board members stated they felt certain actions belong in that category while others said a lot of input or attention from the city commission would be necessary.

After brief discussion, board chair Scott Clein suggested that Dupuis add the category to both the planning board’s list and the commission’s list since they will likely be working together on the items.

They agreed that the discussion on focusing on expanding existing housing rather than new developments would be something the commission would need to weigh in on considering possible legal issues.

Dupuis stated he would like the board to start narrowing down the specific actions that board members want to tackle this year during their next meeting. He emphasized that the action list is not final, but just a guideline for what the board would like to work on.

Williams motioned to add a study session to the first meeting of March to continue their discussion which was approved 6-0.


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