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 Jon Adams, the president of the Southfield Parks and Garden Club; resident Rosemerry Allen; and Human Services Coordinator Rhonda Terry check out a new bike path unveiled in 2017 on Northwestern Highway in the Southfield City Centre. The Planning Department recently discussed plans for the future, which include more walking and biking paths.

Jon Adams, the president of the Southfield Parks and Garden Club; resident Rosemerry Allen; and Human Services Coordinator Rhonda Terry check out a new bike path unveiled in 2017 on Northwestern Highway in the Southfield City Centre. The Planning Department recently discussed plans for the future, which include more walking and biking paths.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Planning officials discuss 2019 accomplishments, look to future

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 4, 2020

 Claire Nowak-Boyd, of the Southfield Planning Department, informs residents in 2017 of the crowdfunding campaign to purchase the public art installation called Red Pole Park.

Claire Nowak-Boyd, of the Southfield Planning Department, informs residents in 2017 of the crowdfunding campaign to purchase the public art installation called Red Pole Park.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — From the Northland development to making the city more pedestrian friendly, the Planning Department and Planning Commission have had a busy year.

Officials from the Southfield Planning Commission and Planning Department gave an update on their 2019 accomplishments and goals for 2020 at a Feb. 10 City Council meeting.

Planning Commission Chair Steve Huntington said the department has been working hard to improve the city.

“Last year was a very busy year,” he said. “We had seven rezoning processes, nine special land use cases, 13 site plans, four (overlay development district) rezonings and 31 Planning Commission meetings.”

City Planner Terry Croad said that, in total, $87 million was invested in the city in 2019, including the 2,100-seat stadium at Lawrence Technological University, several new businesses and hotels, building expansions, demolitions that will result in new developments, and adaptive reuses or expansions in several buildings.

Behind the scenes, Croad said, members of the Planning Department have been studying regulations for medical marijuana and the Northland development, along with taking inventory on non-motorized pathways and gateways.

Councilman Dan Brightwell asked Croad if he could specify what exactly a non-motorized pathway and gateway is.

“We reviewed all 300 bus stops throughout the city to determine if there were key walks or other types of facilities, and then we came up with the scoring and prioritization for future capital improvements,” Croad said. “So non-motorized is literally what it means — bicycles, walking, so forth. And then we did a public transit study and reviewed the bus stop conditions throughout the city.”

Into 2020, Croad said, both groups will be working to improve transportation and housing for seniors.

“As far as initiatives for 2020, we will continue to work on the Sustainable Southfield master plan implementation,” Croad said. “One of the initiatives that was submitted by the commission was to work on housing and transportation options for seniors who have mobility challenges, and we’re working closely with the (Commission on Senior Adults) on that.”

Huntington said the planning process is a long but rewarding one.

“We get a lot of these petitioners that come in with these plans that look great with beautiful pictures, but when you start to look at the blueprints and start asking questions, all of the sudden, this great project is not so great,” Huntington said. “But we don’t just throw them out the door. We try to turn it into a great project. Sometimes it entails sending them back to the drawing board two or three times, but eventually we get it right.”

For more information on the Southfield Planning Department, go to cityofsouthfield.com.

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