Planning firm brings their knowledge to DeWitt

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Michael Dobbin

DeWitt Township

At the city council meeting on Oct. 25, council members stated that this is the first time since 1987 that the planning services contract was bid out.

Planning firm Beckett & Raeder, Inc. has been contracted by the city of DeWitt to aid its growth. They offer a range of services for clients for developing and managing community growth.

Some of the services are: Community master plans, strategic planning, and small town design. The City Administrator of DeWitt, Dan Coss, is looking to Beckett & Raeder, Inc. to help with the community growth of DeWitt.

Coss sent out a “Request For Proposals” to several planning firms. An RFP is a bidding document that is sent to planning firms asking them for their qualifications, experiences, and fee structure.

The city of DeWitt signed a three-year planning services contract with Beckett & Raeder.

When asked about the contract was only for three years, councilman Dave Hunsaker said: “The contract establishes the legal relationship between the city and the vendor for planning services. The duration is so that both parties have a mutual interest in the success of the relationship. There are times when it is in our best interest to have a short-term contract with a vendor, but planning services would not be one of them.”

Beckett & Raeder, Inc. will be providing guidance on matters related to zoning amendments & work with the Planning Commission.

Beckett & Raeder, Inc. won’t be adding any new businesses to Dewitt, but it will be advisers to the city.

Dan Coss said in regards to Beckett & Raeder, Inc. helping the city: “They will be more like advisors to the City. They have expertise in certain areas of land use that help guide the City. I would kind of compare it to an academic adviser at MSU, helping plan classes out over 5 years to get a degree, only we look at land use in five, 10 and 20-year time frames.”

The purpose of the zoning ordinance is to promote public health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the city. It will also protect the character and stability of the open space, residential and nonresidential areas within the city and promote the orderly and beneficial development of such areas.

Beckett & Raeder, Inc.

Logo of Beckett & Raeder, Inc.

Project planner at Beckett & Raeder, Inc. Michelle Bennett will be the team planner for the city of DeWitt.

Bennett said: “My role is to provide ongoing guidance on matters related to zoning amendments and work with the planning commission to make sure that zoning ordinance accurately reflects the community’s vision. As a part of that, I stay up to date on new case law so that the city’s zoning ordinances comply with legislation. I will also assist with any site plan reviews if new development were to come to the
city.”

Coss and Hunsaker said they hope Beckett & Raeder, Inc. will help DeWitt develop ordinances for their downtown and hopefully attract new businesses in the future. Hunsaker said DeWitt would always welcome new business to their city.