Workshop to inform draft master plan update
TOWN OF GROSSE POINTE — While their parents got to work sharing ideas for the future of the Town during its public engagement session on the master plan update last Saturday, the youngest residents explored Box City: a special planning activity where children used building blocks to place their structures on a large city map.
With approximately 160 survey responses already returned to planners – the survey, feedback map and public online forums can be found at mcka.mysocial
pinpoint.com/grosse-pointe-master-plan — organizers continued to solicit public opinion on the first master plan update since 2012.
“Make no mistake about it, change is happening,” remarked Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak at the start of the workshop. “Change is coming and that informs us and gives us guidance on how we manage and lead that change.”
With suggestions for The Village including widening sidewalks, adding co-working space, and incorporating outdoor dining and public art, attendees were also asked to give their thoughts on new home design standards and additional housing opportunities and uses.
“We understand that the character of Grosse Pointe is made up of single-family homes and no one anticipates that this primary fabric will change,” said city planner John Jackson, “however, there are changing demands for different types of housing.”
These include an aging population and empty nests seeking to downsize, as well as the question of whether bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs, in-law accommodations and self-catering apartments for seniors would be forms of acceptable housing within the community.
Several participants indicated that they would support bed and breakfasts, with some specifying that they should only be allowed in certain areas of the city.
Additional focus groups looked at topics of missing recreational activities – suggestions included pickleball, walking trails that feel more like a park and boat rentals in Neff Park – and changing areas potential, such as the one-story buildings on Kercheval, the Jefferson Chase Bank site, vacant lots on Fisher, the St. Clair multi-family site, and the corner of Kercheval and Cadieux.
“These are a few specific areas of the city that over the next few years may experience pressure from landowners or potential developers and builders to redevelop these properties,” Jackson noted, “so we want to be proactive about understand the issues at these sites, how they relate to adjacent sites, and what the city’s comfort level is for new development at these sites.
A report generated from the results of Saturday’s session should be available on the city’s website in time for next month’s council meeting, March 21.
“As the master plan process continues, we will report back to you on the results of today’s sessions, the outcome of other sessions we have scheduled for public comment and anything else. will be incorporated into the formulation of the master plan,” Jackson says, “where there will be more opportunities for you to provide us with feedback as the process unfolds.”
Following a draft update to the plan, the City intends to hold another community meeting for input prior to the formal public hearing before City Council.