By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer
For three years, the Mason Planning Commission has been updating its 2004 Master Plan. On Tuesday, Feb. 11, city commissioners passed the resolution and sent it to City Council for consideration.
The intent of Mason’s updated Master Plan is to create a vision and set policy for growth. Looking to direct new commercial, residential and industrial development, the plan hopes to guarantee appropriate land use, bring awareness to the city’s agricultural practices, reduce tax burdens on citizens and preserve its historical and small-town character.
Zoning and Development Director David Haywood said the focus of the plan is to provide for areas where infrastructure is likely to develop.
“The object is to prepare for potential city growth,” Haywood said. “By defining where we want to see growth happen, it allows us to plan for infrastructure and provide the necessary services like water, sewer, police and fire.”
One example of this planning and growth includes the restoration of the oldest building in the city.
“The building was constructed when Abraham Lincoln was president,” said Mayor Pro Tem Robin Naeyaert. “Now a company is coming in and they are going to change the property, maintain the historic appeal and invest quite a bit of money. We’ve had quite the historic conglomeration of financing to get it done.”
But recent updates to the Master Plan extend beyond the development of infrastructure and technology. John Sabbadin, vice chairman of the Planning Commission, hopes the plan will include bicycle and walking paths to promote an outdoor-friendly community.
“A long-term goal would include starting in Jackson and cycling all the way to Lansing,” Sabbadin said. “Anything that gets the community out moving, walking, and stopping in the stores would be awesome.”
Naeyaert said the Master Plan is a way people can look into the city. It describes what Mason is now and what citizens want to see over the next five years.
“Somebody who is not from the city, who is looking to develop in the city or who wants to open a business in the city, looks to the Master Plan,” Naeyaert said. “It tells them which areas in Mason we want to see commercial, kept historic and advanced with technology. Everything you can think of that comprises a city is in that Master Plan.”