Comprehensive plan close to final


News Staff Writer

ALPENA -For the last year and a half the Alpena Planning Commission has been working on updating the city’s comprehensive plan and during Tuesday’s meeting the commission received a detailed look at the plan as it is currently structured. Denise Kline, a consultant from Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, gave a presentation via teleconference that explained vital data.

The report covered everything from the city’s employment, population and financial trends for the last several decades. It also used graphs and charts to explain demographic information.

Interim City Manager Greg Sundin said there still are several steps that need to be taken before the plan is finalized by Alpena Municipal Council later this year.

“Denise and myself will hopefully get together Wednesday to review the existing land use plan and the future land use plan and simply update those,” Sundin said. “Once that is done she will get us a draft the commission will review.”

Sundin said once the planning commission makes its final approval of the plan it will be filed with other local governing bodies and be made available for review to the public before a public hearing is held.

“We must submit a copy to the county and to Alpena Township, because those are our abutting jurisdictions,” Sundin said. “We also submit it to NEMCOG and then we have a period for comments and recommendations. The commission can either make more changes based on the comments or choose to leave it as is. It will then go to the council for final approval.”

One of the unfortunate statistics in the plan’s data is the continued decline in population. Numbers from 2011 show there were 11,304 people living in the city. That number has slid to 10,048 in 2012. The information also showed that of the city’s total population 28 percent are between 45 and 64 years of age and 23 percent 25-44 years old. The data shows a majority of the population is middle aged.

In other business:

* the commission approved the city’s capital improvement plan. The plan list by priority projects for the next six years.

* before the meeting, Susan Nielsen was presented a certificate of appreciation for her 16 years on the planning commission. Nielsen was forced to step down after winning a city council seat during the February special election.

* the board filled one of its two vacant seats. The commission will recommend to the council to appoint Brian Dort to the commission. Sundin said there is still one position open and anyone interested can apply by filling out an application at city hall.