Supervisor hosts industrial development workshop

By: Jeremy Selweski | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 19, 2013

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — More than 20 local, regional and state officials were on hand June 10 to discuss the future of industrial development in the township and across Macomb County at a workshop hosted by Township Supervisor Janet Dunn.

The purpose of the workshop — which was called Predict. Plan. Prepare. — was to gather key players together to define goals and objectives that will increase industrial and manufacturing opportunities in Macomb Township and the surrounding region. It featured presentations from appraiser Gilbert Zook, an expert in the areas of economic and workforce development, and James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College. Audience members included County Executive Mark Hackel; County Commissioner Joe Sabatini, R-Macomb Township; and representatives from L’Anse Creuse and New Haven schools.

Township officials are currently reviewing and amending their master plan, so the workshop also served as an invitation for input and assistance from local experts, developers and business owners.

“We’re working hard right now to bring our master plan up to date,” Dunn said. “What was happening in the township five years ago is not the same as what’s happening today, so we need to make some necessary adjustments. The new master plan will definitely be approved by the end of the year — probably sometime in August or September.”

Guests at the workshop were asked to share their opinions about six topics related to industrial development. Their responses included a preference for developing small- to medium-sized companies, an emphasis on creating and retaining new jobs, a request to establish more flexible zoning regulations for industrial businesses, and a desire for greater support from the community and local government.

In his presentation, Zook pointed out that there are currently about 446 total acres of vacant industrial land in Macomb Township, mostly located along a few key thoroughfares like 23 Mile Road and Hayes Road. Dunn believes that this number represents an opportunity for the township to improve available developed properties, as well those that are still undeveloped, in order to accommodate the needs of the manufacturing industry. 

“I’m very proud of the fact that we have high standards in Macomb Township,” she said. “We’re trying to get our vacancy rate down as low as possible because nothing looks worse than property with a bunch of empty buildings. It sends a bad message, which is why we’re trying to help these companies out as much as we can.”