Kentwood adopts updated master plan

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Following planning and community engagement efforts spanning more than three years, the city of Kentwood has adopted an updated master plan that serves as the city’s long-range vision for growth, land use, development and open space conservation.

The master plan features goals, policies and recommended actions to guide land-use decisions over the next 20 years. The forward-looking development plan considers the long-range goals and desires of residents and property owners, as well as local, regional and market trends. It was adopted by the planning commission and then accepted by the city commission.

“The master plan update process is key to ensuring the detailed visionary planning for Kentwood’s future development in all sectors as our community grows,” Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley said. “Many people have spent countless hours to ensure Kentwood’s master plan is a comprehensive guide for growth and conservation decisions while preserving and improving Kentwood’s excellent quality of life.”

The master plan is reviewed at least every five years and modified and updated as deemed necessary by the planning commission. The update process goal is to plan for new population growth and redevelopment while protecting key environmental features, creating sustainable economic opportunities and providing public services.

The city’s efforts for the latest master plan update began in October 2017. The planning commission voted to start the process to amend the master plan, citing improvements in the economy, an end to the housing/mortgage crises, implementation of the form-based code — a land development regulatory tool — along Division Avenue and incorporation of the Silver Line bus rapid transit service along Division Avenue.

Planning department staff and the planning commission identified leading issues, trends and changes that affected the community since the last update in 2012 and gave thoughtful consideration of future anticipated growth in proposing changes to the master plan.

Last summer, the city sought public input through Plan Kentwood, a community engagement series that consisted of five opportunities for residents and other stakeholders to learn about and share their thoughts on proposed changes during different events throughout Kentwood.

Changes from the 2012 plan impact policies and principles for all development in the city as well as recommendations related to undeveloped land and redeveloping land. Community engagement discussions focused on changes related to a few areas that required particular attention:

  • Section 13, 263 acres of open land between 28th and 36th streets, Patterson Avenue and East Paris Avenue
  • Section 34, a 480-acre area between 52nd and 60th streets, the Princeton Estates plat and Wing Avenue
  • 28th and 29th Street commercial corridor
  • Division Avenue corridor

The update process also included a revaluation of plans for the Eastern Avenue and 52nd Street, City campus and Kalamazoo Avenue corridor subareas.

A public comment period on the draft plan was offered this summer, which allowed for feedback to be submitted online, over the phone, via email and by mail. A virtual work session and a public hearing in the fall enabled stakeholders to further review and provide feedback.

“We are delighted to celebrate the completion of the master plan update,” Community Development Director Terry Schweitzer said. “It serves an important role in guiding our decisions as we remain committed to the community’s vision for the city.”

The planning commission adopted the 2020 master plan Sept. 8 and presented it to the city commission Oct. 20 for acceptance. The updated plan and its associated documents are available on the city’s website at kentwood.us/PlanKentwood.

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