PZC GLRI Saginaw Bay Watershed Project: 2013-2014 Events

In 2013 and 2014, the Planning & Zoning Center conducted a series of events as part of grant funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which focused on the Flint River and Shiawassee Watersheds.

Flint River Watershed

Planning and Zoning Workshops: Water Quality Protection in Rural Communities Mark Wyckoff Presenting at the Planning and Zoning Workshop

The LPI's Planning & Zoning Center in partnership with the Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC) hosted a rural water quality protection workshop in Columbiaville, in Lapeer County in Michigan on June 19, 2014. Planning Commissioners, City council members, conservationists and concerned citizens were invited to attend this event, which provided insight on how rural communities can protect water quality in their master plans and zoning ordinances. The presentation also included examples of master plans and zoning ordinances in the region that prioritize water quality protection. The presentation was based on the Rural Water Quality Protection Guideboook that was published by the Land Policy Institute in December 2012.

Visioning Session II: Thread LakeParticipants at the Thread Lake Vision Session

On February 20, 2014, a team of researchers from the Planning & Zoning Center and the Flint River Watershed Coalition presented a new Vision for Thread Lake and the surrounding neighborhoods at the International Academy of Flint. The Vision was created after engaging and gathering input from citizens and stakeholders at two previous events in Fall 2013. 

More than 30 individuals attended the presentation of the Vision, and provided input, feedback and suggestions that will continue to help in the development of the Vision document. The Vision is centered around three principle goals: 

  1. Recreation Improvements;
  2. Neighborhood Stabilization and Targeted Redevelopment; and
  3. Improved Water Quality.

The three goals were associated with 33 action steps that are recommended for completion in four different timeframes: 

  1. Short-Term - 1-2 years
  2. Short-Term - 3-5 years
  3. Long-Term - 6-10 years
  4. Long-Term - 11-15 years

The Vision also outlined stakeholder responsibilities for the implementation of the goals and action steps. Implementation required a concerted and cooperative effort from many existing stakeholders and organizations currently working in the area along with the City of Flint and Genesee County. This Vision attempts to summarize the current efforts of existing stakeholders, the momentum building from current projects and the countless opportunities for future improvements. The PZC and the FRWC revised and finalized the Vision document based on feedback received from citizens during and after the presentation, which was shared with residents and stakeholders.

Visioning Session: Thread LakeParticipants at the Thread Lake Visioning Session

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THREAD LAKE! The PZC and FRWC hosted a visioning session for Thread Lake and its surrounding neighborhoods on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, at the International Academy of Flint. The PZC presented a short presentation on the efforts of the project to date, the results of the community input from the September 7th Thread Lake event, and the purpose of the visioning session. The PZC explained that the input received at the session will help the project team prepare vision documents on what is possible to improve Thread Lake and the land around it as assets to guide future development and redevelopment of the adjoining neighborhoods. The event attracted 20 attendees from the surrounding neighborhoods who participated in two visioning exercises that allowed them to share their dreams for Thread Lake.

Visioning Session: Flint Park LakeParticipants at the Flint Park Lake Visioning Session

On Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014, a team of researchers from PZC and the FRWC continued its efforts in the neighborhood surrounding Flint Park Lake by presenting a new draft vision for the community to area stakeholders and residents at The New McCree Theatre in Flint. The draft Vision was created after engaging and gathering input from citizens and stakeholders at a previous event in Fall 2013. More than 25 individuals attended the presentation of the Vision, and provided input, feedback and suggestions that will continue to help in the development of the Vision document. The draft Vision is centered on three principle goals:

  1. Recreation improvements;
  2. Neighborhood stabilization and targeted redevelopment; and 
  3. Improved water quality.

The draft Vision also outlined stakeholder responsibilities for the implementation of the goals and action steps. Implementation will require a concerted and cooperative effort from many existing stakeholders and organizations currently working in the area along with the City of Flint and Genesee County. This Vision attempts to summarize the current efforts of existing stakeholders and the countless opportunities for future improvements.

Flint-area attendees spoke positively about the draft Vision but also requested the need for more immediate action that precedes the goals and actions steps outlined in the Vision. Residents and stakeholders expressed the desire to organize themselves as a neighborhood group or nonprofit in order to implement the changes that they desire, as well as those outlined in the draft Vision. Area residents and stakeholders showed excitement and enthusiasm for revitalizing the neighborhood, as well as the vigor and willingness to volunteer their time to ensure that their goals are reached. The PZC and the FRWC revised and finalized the Vision document based on feedback received from citizens during the presentation, and shared it with residents and stakeholders. It includes a new section that outlines the necessary steps needed before implementing the goals of the Vision document.

Community Gathering: Flint Park LakeParticipants Working in Small Groups at the Flint Park Lake Visioning Session

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR FLINT PARK LAKE? The PZC and FRWC hosted a visioning session for Flint Park Lake and its surrounding neighborhoods on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at the McCree Theatre in Flint. The PZC presented a short presentation on the efforts of the project to date, the lake's history, and the purpose of the visioning session. The PZC explained that the input received at the session will help the project team prepare vision documents on what is possible to improve Flint Park Lake and the land around it as assets to guide future development and redevelopment of the adjoining neighborhoods. The event attracted more than 20 attendees from the surrounding neighborhoods who participated in two visioning exercises that allowed them to share the history of the area along with their dreams for Flint Park Lake.

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Shiawassee River Watershed

Shiawasee Watershed Workshops

Protect Your River and in the Process, the Saginaw Bay. The Planning & Zoning Center at MSU, in partnership with the Friends of the Shiawassee River, hosted three rural water quality protection workshops in Owosso, St. Charles and Fenton, from February-March 2014. Planning commissioners, city council members, conservationists and concerned citizens were invited to attend the workshops, which provided insight on how rural communities can protect water quality in their master plans and zoning ordinances. The presentations also included examples of master plans and zoning ordinances in the region that prioritize water quality protection. The presentations were based on the Rural Water Quality Protection: A Planning and Zoning Guidebook for Local Officials that was published by the Land Policy Institute in December 2012. The full guidebook can be accessed and downloaded by clicking here.

Inaugural Summit of the Shiawassee River WatershedParticipants at the 2013 Shiawassee River Watershed Summit

The Summit, held on Oct. 17, 2013, at Baker College's Welcome Center in Owosso, MI, attracted 82 stakeholders from communities throughout the Watershed. Participants were introduced to the variety of approaches to watershed management with the application of local initiatives. Experienced presenters illustrated best management practices, green infrastructure approaches, ordinance powers, planning initiatives, special projects already in place, recreation and fisheries themes. Mark Wyckoff, Director of the PZC, presented on two topics at the Summit: using effective local planning and zoning to prevent water quality problems in the Shiawassee River and best management practices and low-impact development techniques that rural communities can use to protect water quality.

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