Economic Development Committee Meeting
April 8, 2014
Present: Michael Bladow, Kathy Bladow, Richard Brower, Barb Brower, Tricia Kenner, Melba Moss, Pat Kilbourne, Rebecca Durocher, Carol Seaver, Tom Seaver, Dan Casey, Jeff Bohm, Bill Orr, Eric Dusci, Dee Kern, Chuck Kern, Becky Wruble, RJ (Hammars)
Blue Meets Green
Dan Casey discussed the formation of the Blue Meets Green Committee, and its overall purpose to bring some direction to economic development in St Clair County. It does not take on projects. In phase one there were over 50 projects identified and over 30 were completed.
Jeff Bohm discussed phase two and what that could mean to Kimball Township. Three of the nine goals of phase two could impact Kimball Township.
- Expansion of the landfill. The landfill has purchased property to the east of the landfill. It will be used for dirt to cap the landfill as solid waste is introduced. However, there is an opportunity to potentially attract greenhouses for the property as well. They would be able to potentially tap into wholesale power and methane gas. Current Township zoning of the property would allow for greenhouses in agricultural areas.
- The air Industrial park. Difficult to sell smaller empty locations. Economy is not supporting the high cost of building new, and light industrial is more likely to purchase existing buildings. Restrictions because of the airport would also limit development. Kathy from the airport may attend the next meeting.
- 300-400 acre industrial park. In 2007 the county identified 10 possible locations for a new site. Current vacancy rate for industrial are 6% in the county, which would indicate a need. Of the 10 possible site, only one met the majority of the criteria. The site is along I94 between Ravenswood and Smiths Creek. Dan Casey had available a list of steps necessary to bring that about.Residents on Allen expressed concern about industrial being near their homes. Would like to keep the property as wooded with nature. Current zoning and future land use already indicate that this would not be a wooded area, but rather houses and streets. The property is already platted for subdivisions.
Kathy Bladow present sections of the Master Plan. The Master Plan recommends that any development take into consideration any development and its impact on residents and the community.
Questions were asked about special exemptions. An explanation was given on special exemptions and their limitation to what is listed in the zoning ordinance.
Explanation was given on the Master Planning process and the rezoning, and the public hearings necessary for both.
Economic Development Alliance
Discussion held on current locations that the EDA could assist us with. This included the Afr property on Range. The property has been pitched to business including Colt Firearms as possible site locations. Decisions regarding the future of the buildings will need to be made by township officials. A structural engineer would need to review the ice rink portion for integrity.
Discussion held regarding the Outlet Mall. This was formerly a destination point for many people. Deterioration of the property has made it less attractive. The parking lot is in disrepair.
A downtown development authority may be useful in keeping tax dollars in our area and supporting the businesses along Lapeer and Wadhams Rd. Possible uses could include lighting, sidewalks, etc.
The department of agriculture has farmland preservation grants. These are grant funded tax breaks for local farmers to keep their properties as farmland. There are 5 different grant opportunities available.
The Township is working on a developer guidebook. This guidebook will walk developers through the process of development and will include instructions and checklists. This will also be useful for Township staff that communicates with developers.
Canadian Appreciation Weekend
Occurring May 17-19. 30% of retail business in our area is from Canadian shoppers. This weekend businesses can offer special promotions to attract some of that business as well as local shoppers. Businesses have until April 10 to get their promotions over to the EDA
Joint Master Plan / Range Road Corridor Plan
Working with neighboring communities to create these advisory master plans. They will look at the area as a whole rather than just individual communities. The Range Road Corridor Plan will be developed by students as part of their educational program.
Closing remarks were given. Eric Dusci expressed his desire for Kimball Township, St Clair County and the State of Michigan to see economic growth. Kimball Township can take advantage of opportunities available to us.
Next Meeting scheduled for May 13 @ 6:30pm