Houghton updating master plan

HOUGHTON — Houghton is continuing to update its five-year master plan.

The Planning Commission is working on most of the sections, City Manager Eric Waara said Tuesday.

The only section where the city is facing a time crunch is recreation, Waara said.

“Some of the summer put us a little bit behind in our original proposed schedule for this,” he said.

Drafts of the master plan were originally slated to be available for public review by October.

The recreation section might be the most consequential, Waara said, since it has implication for plans with the city’s recreation plan with the Department of Natural Resources.

“There’s a whole lot of things we have to do within that recreation section to be compliant for a rec plan for the state, so we’re doing those right now,” Waara said.

Michigan now requires a survey of city parks to score their accessibility for those with disabilities.

With the commission finishing its report on recommendations for rental policy in the city, it can proceed with updates to the neighborhood section, Waara said.

The demographics section will mostly require adding new data. The transportation section also requires minimal updates, Waara said.

Waara said the layout of the master plan will be upgraded so that it makes sense beyond the print form.

“There’s some sections that don’t make a lot of sense, except they manage to fit that book,” he said.

Commission member Gary Lubinski estimated 90 percent of the master plan work is done.

“In my opinion, that first master plan was pretty comprehensive, and a lot of time went into it,” he said. “A lot of things don’t change over five years. So I think this second round is going to be a lot easier.”

The copy of the current plan Waara keeps at his desk is filled with checkmarks indicating projects that had been completed.

“It’s going to be inserting new things with empty check boxes by them,” he said. “That’s what we want to be doing with this one.”