The planners at Clearzoning, Inc. have recently been tapped to assist the City of Wixom, MI with the preparation of an Economic Development Strategy. This study is funded, in part, with a US Economic Development Administration grant.
We have assembled a team that includes Brent Eastman of Identity PR of Bingham Farms, MI, branding and public relations specialists based in Oakland County, and Howard Kohn of The Chesapeake Group of Cadillac, MI and Baltimore, MD to partner on this project. Howard Kohn, president of The Chesapeake Group has over 40 years of experience in market analysis and economic development planning. The project has three main components:
- Understanding the City’s assets and creating strategies fill gaps in the market for industrial, retail, and research and development businesses;
- Creating an efficient land development review process within the City;
- Assisting the City in the development of its unique “brand voice”—an understanding of who the City is, what it has to offer, and how that message is best shared.
On May 15, Rod Arroyo met with several area businesses to give an overview presentation of the project. This summer, along with extensive research, our team will survey and interview local businesses and residents to learn more about the local workforce and the needs of local businesses. Strategies to strengthen the attractiveness of the workforce through education and specialized training will be developed. In addition, we will look for opportunities to facilitate collaborations between existing businesses and potential new businesses. We look forward to working with this community over the next several months.Read More
Attending the American Planning Association Annual Conference in Chicago April 13-17?
Stop by the Exhibit Hall and meet the staff at Clearzoning – and see a Clearzoning ordinance in action! Find us at Booth #533.
In addition, Clearzoning’s Rod Arroyo and David Birchler will be presenting ”The Little Suburb that Could” at a special event dinner on April 16 (6-8 p.m.). Rod and Dave will share the story of how, in the midst of Michigan’s severe recession, one city is looking for ways to position the community for future growth and improvement. Learn more about the positive steps taken by this small city over the past four years. Register here for this event.Read More
Make Your Roads Safer
The University of Michigan reports that a crash occurs on Michigan roadways about once every 2 minutes, on average. Some crashes are largely attributable to single obvious causes, such as drunk driving or “texting” on a cell phone. However, many crashes are affected by a combination of factors that might include:
- Unusual roadway design
- Traffic control feature(s) different than the driver expected
- Poor visibility due to darkness and/or weather
- An unforgiving roadside
The likelihood of crashes and/or severe injuries occurring can generally be reduced by improving the roadway, roadside, and/or traffic controls (i.e., pavement markings, signs, signals). Learn more about how communities can direct their limited safety improvement funds by creating a more cost-effective local safety program based on a comprehensive traffic crash study. March 2013 – Traffic Crash Studies
On January 28, 2013, the City of Farmington Hills adopted a new clearzoning ordinance. The process started in April and involved ”taking apart” the old Zoning Ordinance and reorganizing the regulations into a more user-friendly format. The February 3 Observer & Eccentric news reports more about this exciting change for the City of Farmington Hills.Read More
Clearzoning reflects on accomplishments of 2012 and looks ahead to 2013. Our biggest news is our official name change from Birchler Arroyo Associates, Inc. to Clearzoning. Clients of BA and Clearzoning know our great work, but many do not know that we are the same company. Read more about our exciting change….February 2013 NewsRead More
Clearzoning is pleased to announce the adoption of a new Zoning Ordinance by the city of Ruston, LA., located in Lincoln Parish. Clearzoning assisted the City with the development of a new zoning code aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown and increasing connectivity with surrounding areas, preserving existing suburban neighborhoods, and encouraging business development through a faster, easier zoning process. Clearzoning President Rodney Arroyo made the announcement on November 26, 2012.
Arroyo and Clearzoning Principal Planner Jill Bahm met with stakeholders and worked closely with the Ruston city staff, led by Planning Administrator Pat Doane, to clarify confusing zoning language, update code provisions, and streamline the development review process. New “form-based” provisions were also included, aimed at revitalizing the historic downtown areas as recommended in the City’s Ruston 21 Comprehensive Plan. The new zoning ordinance identifies specific building forms and land uses that make the core districts more pedestrian-friendly as well as encourages connectivity between downtown and Louisiana Tech University’s developing Tech Village area.
“Our old code was created in 1959 and many things were out of date and inconsistent with the city’s vision for the future,” noted Doane. “The new code really has the city’s future in mind and is filled with helpful illustrations and is designed to work online, making it easier for people to find answers to basic zoning questions.” One of the most important changes to the code is that it makes business development predictable and easy by replacing conditional uses with uses by right in the appropriate zones. Now a business can just look at the code and know if the use is allowed instead of having to go through an uncertain two-month long zoning hearing process.
Once the draft code was completed in the spring of 2012, another series of meetings with local businesses and the real estate community resulted in additional clarification and refinements. Scott Terry, Ruston Chamber of Commerce President, was pleased with the new code and planning process. “We appreciate the opportunity to be involved, and look forward to a continued relationship with the city on future planning and zoning matters,” stated Terry at the November 5, 2012 Board of Alderman public hearing.
Peter Gallagher, President of the University Hills Neighborhood Association also gave his support of the new code. He remarked that “people didn’t understand what was on the books because the old code was so hard to read. Now it’s a very user-friendly document.”
“We have really enjoyed the opportunity to partner with the City of Ruston,” said Arroyo. “Our planning and zoning experience combined with the local knowledge and perspective of the city’s staff, officials and community members resulted in a unique zoning code that was tailored to the needs of the community.”
Details of the new code are available on the City of Ruston’s website at www.Ruston.org.Read More
The City of Lathrup Village has been recognized for its proactive approach to planning & zoning at the annual conference of the American Planning Association. The award was presented at the Small Town & Rural Planning (STaR) Division’s annual business dinner in Los Angeles in April 2012.
Each year, the STaR Division recognizes excellence in the planning efforts that help make the future of small communities brighter. This year’s John Keller Award for Outstanding Planning Initiative was presented to Lathrup Village for its new zoning ordinance, which has transformed its previous code into a concise, user-friendly and highly-illustrated digital ordinance. This is one of many tools the City uses to attract and facilitate new development and redevelopment.
The new zoning ordinance, developed by the metro Detroit firm Clearzoning®, allows the public to view the Lathrup Village zoning code at any time, from anywhere. By simply clicking on one page of an online ordinance, a business owner can, for example, determine where a new office building could be built. Then, with one more click, the setback, area and height regulations for that district are displayed in both text and graphic form. The ordinance is fully hyper-linked to make it more user-friendly.
The implementation of the new zoning ordinance is one of several steps the City of Lathrup Village has taken recently to attract businesses to the Southfield Road Corridor and to support those businesses already located in the community. The new zoning ordinance implements the master plan’s vision of reestablishing the Village Center concepts, and provides regulations and incentives for a mixed use, pedestrian-friendly district that would function as the heart of the City.
Lathrup Village is in a highly desirable location in southern Oakland County, Michigan. Conveniently located off I-696, the City is within easy reach of the region’s major cities and destinations. It has a population of over 4,000 people and covers 1 1/2 square miles. The majority of its commercial uses are located on Southfield Road, which links to the City of Detroit to the south and to the City of Birmingham to the north. Jeff Mueller is the City Administrator (248-557-2600×225).
The zoning ordinance and other planning work was prepared with the assistance of Clearzoning and its parent company, Birchler Arroyo Associates, Inc., a planning and transportation consulting firm established in 1989. The mission of Clearzoning is to transform municipal codes into visually appealing, digital documents that better communicate ordinance regulations. Rodney L. Arroyo, AICP serves as President of Clearzoning (866-271-9663).
The Small Town & Rural Planning Division of the American Planning Association is a collaborative group of rural and small town planners, citizen planners, and allied professionals dedicated to the physical, social, and economic diversity of North America’s non-metropolitan areas. The division keeps an eye on issues that challenge the ever changing face of “Small Town America” and shares ideas and success stories from the rural heartland of the United States and abroad.Read More