City sets up methods for master plan public participation

Climate plan, housing assessment to be featured

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 19, 2024


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sometimes it takes a plan for a plan to come together.

During a Feb. 6 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Planner Jake Parcell presented a timeline and overview of how officials will proceed with engaging the public and drafting a new edition of the city’s master land use plan.

According to the city, officials review and refer to the master plan when deciding community development matters, including how land will be used in the future, as far as 20 years. Officials look over the master plan every five years to update it.

Parcell said city officials look forward to adding some new things to the master plan this year, including a climate action plan to make the city more sustainable. He said officials will also add in a housing assessment that will take inventory of available living space and the community’s desires. In addition, he said, the city will invest in translating services so that more residents whose native language is not English can more easily participate in the process and comprehend the plan.

The city says it’s also prioritizing community participation.

“We really have a very deep grassroots kind of plan here moving forward this year,” Parcell said. “We’re working tirelessly to engage all groups of the community, making it equitable, accessible.”

For instance, Parcell said, the city plans to release an online community survey between April and October. He said dialogue and collaboration will help the city imbue the plan with local knowledge while making the plan more adaptable to the community’s needs and circumstances.

The city plans to make the process more transparent in a few ways. Parcell said the master planning process will have its own dedicated website. And from February until May, the city will have an online geographic information system tool that will let residents provide feedback on particular areas of the city in which they have concerns.

In addition, he said, a series of programs and meetings will take place to inform residents, including a February citizens academy, meetings with students and young people between February and May, and targeted community workshops between April and August.

The city also plans to hold some public workshops. A May one will cover future land use and zoning, and a July one will cover sustainability, Parcell said.    

In terms of master plan sessions, the Planning Commission held a “Master Plan 101” meeting Feb. 14. According to the rest of the schedule, the commission will discuss housing and the master plan April 24; the economy and the workforce June 26; priority nodes and corridors Aug. 28; transportation, infrastructure and natural systems Oct. 23; and a master plan review sometime in December.

“And at this time next year, I look forward to, you know, adopting our final product with you all,” Parcell added.

The Giffels Webster consulting firm will help facilitate the master plan’s development. Andy Aamodt, from Giffels Webster, said he has worked with Sterling Heights officials before with a previous planning contract, and he now looks forward to working on the master plan

“Working here in the city of Sterling Heights was a great experience,” he said. “It’s a very busy place, very energetic place, great staff.”

According to Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Melanie Davis, the city paid $195,862 for the services, though she said that cost is offset by around $90,000 in grant money,

Learn more about the Sterling Heights master plan and the scheduled meetings by visiting or call (586) 446-2360.