Meridian Township Planning Commission examines 2018 goals

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On a day where there were no public remarks, no new business to attend to, and no old business to come back and discuss, the Meridian Township Planning Commission used the time during its monthly meeting on Sept. 24 to review each of their goals for this year.

“I think it’s very important, it’s something we should have tackled earlier and it’s easy to get away from that mission because throughout the rest of the year we had projects, we have somebody coming in for a special use permit or a planning unit development or what rezoning or whatever,” said Peter Menser, the principal planner at Meridian Township.

“So, you get caught up in all your official business and sometimes you don’t get a chance, or you know it’s hard to hold a volunteer group here until now, its 10 p.m, just to talk about policy stuff, but on a day like this when the agenda is pretty empty it’s a perfect opportunity to start tackling stuff.”

The Planning Commission thinks intently about their goals for the year and how to accomplish them.

The commission went through each of the goals it adopted on Jan. 8, 2018, spending time discussing the steps it might need to take, to accomplish its goals. One point that they spent time on was the development of regulations for accessory dwelling units in the township.

According to accessorydwelling.org, an accessory dwelling unit is a much smaller place of residence that has been developed out of an already existing home or is part of another structure on the property. For example, an accessory dwelling unit could be an apartment or living space in the basement of a home or a converted garage.

“So the township’s just been looking at what should we do about stuff like this,” said Menser. “Ann Arbor has a policy where they did permits and they had a process set up for it maybe we’ll end up going down that road, so we’re really just at the beginning stages, talking about what are our options and then once we’ve identified them we may pick out one that we like better than the others.”

One thing the board is looking for, is public input in regard to the units. Although he was not present at the meeting after learning about the units, Okemos resident Dan Smith revealed his issues with the idea.

“I don’t think they (the community) would be interested in it, this is really a residential area with a lot of apartment dwellings, so I can’t see anybody converting space into extra living space,” said Smith.

While the accessory dwelling units were talked about extensively in this meeting, the commission also has other goals that it hopes to accomplish. Including, implementing ideas from the master plan developed last year, considering policy options related to “tiny” housing, training opportunities for new and current Planning Commission members, etc.

“We’re going to work on all of them that we can this year and we just love having public input, people come talk at our meetings and come give us more ideas,” said Dante Ianni, the planning commission chair.

The commission meets every second and fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Municipal building at 5151 Marsh Rd.