Master plan forum July 20 beckons Dorr Twp. citizens

The Dorr Township Planning Commission made moves Tuesday night in preparation for the special master plan public input forum July 20.

The commission went over survey results from about 500 township residents with Lori Castello, zoning administrator from Professional Code Inspections. Then commissioners set a public hearing on an unrelated special use permit and site plan review request for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 13, to clear the docket for the forum.

The Plan Commission also has asked for a traffic study ahead of the forum, focusing on the four corners downtown.

Indeed, one of the most frequently mentioned issues in the survey was traffic speed and congestion, along with conversion of farmland to residential and commercial properties. Also scoring high on the survey were road conditions and lack of sidewalks and recreation trails.

This in light of what most residents believed to be Dorr’s greatest asset — the rural, country lifestyle that’s difficult to protect because others may want in on it.

Castello quipped that it’s almost as if current residents are saying, “I’m here, so shut the door now… That’s what makes the bedroom community.”

Bedroom community indeed.

The biggest chunk of Dorr residents who work do so in Grand Rapids. Furthermore, most shoppers do business in Byron Center and Wayland (because of the casino), as well as in Dorr.

Commission Chairman Bob Wagner noted that some people have question why there are two Dollar stores, but said, “I was amazed at how much traffic these Dollar stores get.”

Dorr Township’s largest group of people by age is from 35 to 44 and 55 to 64. Only 2.42 percent of the survey respondents were between 19 and 24.

Dorr is experiencing growth, and some people like it, some don’t.

Castello said the industrial park is filling up now after a stagnant period. She added that development pressures are increasing and changing while township officials try to preserve that desired rural, small town lifestyle.

But she noted most in the survey reported reasonable satisfaction with Dorr as a place to live.

She said a master plan may not be exciting for most folks, but quipped, “A master plan is where you want to be (in the future). An ordinance is where you are now.”

She implored local residents to get involved in the public forum, which will get under way at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, at the township hall, with planning consultant Nathan Mehmed from Williams & Works the facilitator.

“There’s a lot of things that have too many cooks in the kitchen,” she said, “but planning isn’t one of them.”

The commission also noted the importance of the special meeting at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, June 24, with representatives from the Sustainable Business Park, asking for large and quality public input.




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