Rochester Hills Wins Prestigious State Planning Award

Community Input Drives Vision for City’s Master Plan

Four people pose with the award

Rochester Hills Wins Prestigious State Planning Award

Rochester Hills recently received the Public Outreach Planning Excellence Award from the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). The city’s process for updating the master plan was guided by three key principles: to preserve, to enhance, and to diversify.

Working with consulting firm Giffels Webster, the team gathered public input from a diverse group of residents. A wide range of voices ensures the master plan reflected the vision of the community.

“Engaging our community in our future plans is an essential piece of planning,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett. “It’s rewarding to see elements of the plan already coming to life in our community and to be recognized state-wide.”

The city hosted a series of visioning workshops. In addition to residents the council, administration, youth council, and planning commission all participated. Through these meetings, the following themes emerged and influenced the plan’s development:

  • Sustainability: directing growth, development and redevelopment in ways that preserve natural features. Look for ways to reduce storm water runoff and enhance nonmotorized transportation.
  • Transportation: A focus on supporting connectivity throughout the city. Being proactive and anticipating how changing technology will impact mobility.
  • Creating an age-friendly community: exploring opportunities to accommodate residents of all ages. This includes housing options, community facilities, local resources, and transportation.

Residents were able to participate in a multitude of ways. Various tactics including adult and youth surveys, open houses, and story maps. Residents could also upload photos of things they enjoyed in the community through a new Picture This! program.

Planning and Economic Development Director Sara Roediger, AICP, expressed the value community input brought to updating the master plan. “Throughout the process, residents expressed their satisfaction with the ease and ability to communicate their thoughts,” said Roediger. “This validation and participation gave the city, its residents and business owners the confidence to continue moving the community forward through thoughtful planning.”

 A jury of APA Michigan Chapter professionals recognized the team’s approach to public outreach, specifically citing ease of readability and exceptional documentation of public input received for the 2018 master plan update.

About Michigan Association of Planning: The Michigan Association of Planning, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sound community land use planning that benefits the residents of Michigan.

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