CLINTON TOWNSHIP – Long before economic development was identified as one of the top five priorities in Clinton Township’s Strategic Plan, Bruce Thompson, Director of Planning and Community Development, was working to improve the business climate of Groesbeck Highway.
Groesbeck, also known as M-97, is a major road that runs through Clinton Township. The corridor is lined with a wide variety of businesses, offices, light industrial companies, and residences. However, economic swings and the evolution of online shopping led many of its industrial and commercial companies to vacate properties along the highway.
“I was brought on board to develop a Groesbeck Highway corridor plan,” said Thompson. “The Township Board has targeted Groesbeck as a reinvestment opportunity, and I’m working with MKSK, a firm that will help us to create guidelines for improvement.”
MKSK is a collective of planners, urban designers, and landscape architects who are passionate about the interaction between people and places. Collectively, they are a network of seven regional metropolitan studios in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.
In looking at the potential to keep and attract new investment, MKSK found the Township’s Groesbeck corridor to be lacking in cohesiveness, walkability, and aesthetic value. Currently, MKSK is putting the finishing touches on proposed design guidelines for future business investment that will keep the corridor attractive and vibrant. The guidelines are a culmination of an extensive study that includes market analysis and existing conditions. The process was led by a consulting team, guided by a technical working group and stakeholder input.
“Applying design guidelines consistently will add value to businesses on Groesbeck,” said Thompson. “Overall aesthetics and consistent design will improve the experience of visitors, the employees working in businesses, and increase the safety of those traveling up and down the corridor,” he said.
Thompson explained that the design guidelines are visual recommendations to be adopted into the Township zoning ordinances to help staff and officials, developers, business owners, and property owners as sites are redeveloped and upgraded.
“The guidelines provide design standards that become applicable when owners invest in their property,” Thompson said. “They also provide flexibility to encourage investment of high-quality development along Groesbeck.”
The objectives of the M-97/ Groesbeck Highway Design Guidelines are to:
The guideline components are comprehensive in scope. For example, guidance for landscaping includes buffer walls and screening. Redeveloped building design guidance covers size and place on site, materials, lighting types, signage and style. The guidelines will apply to all new developments and substantial building expansions, alterations, or significant changes that increase traffic, noise, the need for more parking, and other external impacts. Projects that don’t fall within these categories are still encouraged to follow the design guidelines when investing in their property.
“Our Department of Planning and Community Development will oversee the implementation of the guidelines,” said Thompson. “However, other Township departments, typically involved in the site plan review process, will also be responsible for ensuring that the design guidelines are incorporated into proposed site plans,” he said.
Clinton Township invites residents to a public presentation of the guidelines on June 24, at 6 p.m. The presentation is hosted by MKSK on the Zoom platform at https://mksk.zoom.us/j/96259736241.
Following the presentation, a draft version of the guidelines will be posted to the Clinton Township website at www.clintontownship.com, and public comments will be welcomed by email. Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org until July 8, 2020.