Population decline at center of debate of new Calumet master plan

CALUMET — Goals need to be clearly stated in a five-year master plan, a member of the village’s planning commission said in a Jan. 9 meeting.

“It needs to be clearly stated that the plan is our goals, and only goals,” said Planning Commission member Chris Green. “It points everyone in the same direction: the planning commission, the Village Council, the residents of the community. This is the direction we’d like to have, because this is where we’d like to be five years from now.”

Green expressed concerns and comments about developing a master plan, including suggestions to change ordinances, plans and procedures.

He said it is the council’s place to determine the priority of the goals of the plan and reveal the intention of the plan to get consensus.

It is his understanding the village cannot have a Zoning Board without a master plan, and the village can become a redevelopment-ready community. In order to achieve that, the village needed to have a master plan.

Currently, the village is operating under a 2008 plan, Green said, and that plan was put together by nine members of the planning commission, at least two of whom were council members.

“Back in 2008, the nine-member Planning Commission and the full-member Village Council,” Green said, “none of those people are currently involved in either the Planning Commission or the council. Not much has happened in 10 years.”

Another concern involving using the 2008 plan is that the information is based on the 2000 Census when the population of the village was 879. The current plan being developed is based on the 2010 Census, which showed a population that year of 726, a 17 percent decline.

“(At the time of) the Aug. 17, 2017, election, there were 514 registered voters in the village of Calumet. The population of those 18 and over has historically made up 80 percent of the population. If 514 is 80 percent, we are at 669 people in the village. More importantly is the 17 percent decline in population is from previous census information. We cannot be looking at a 17 percent decline in population now.”