HOUGHTON - The proposed update to the Houghton County master plan is going to the county board of commissioners.
The county planning commission approved the plan by a 7-0 vote at their monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon. Jonathan Leinonen was absent, while Anton Pintar, who is also on the county board, abstained.
Guy St. Germain, chair of the planning commission, said he is proud to be associated with the work it had done.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
The Houghton County Planning Commission discusses its update to the 2006 master plan at its monthly meeting Tuesday. The planning commission approved the update to the plan by a 7-0 vote Tuesday.
"We have done, and redone, and examined, and re-examined a lot to come up with the product we have," he said. "And there aren't a lot of planning commissions that go through all of what we've gone through, but I know everybody has stuck with it because you took it on yourself to do a good job."
Initial public hearings on the plan this spring drew large crowds and primarily critical response to the plan, which residents feared would erode local control of zoning decisions. However, recent meetings, including Tuesday's, have seen more positive feedback.
Alex Mayer of Houghton said the county plan is important as a way to manage the best use of resources such as forests, watersheds and mineral deposits that cross township boundaries.
"Countywide plans, or even larger scale than that, are very important, because our resources cross boundaries at the smaller scale. ... Thank you for your hard work," he said.
A delegation from Keweenaw National Historical Park came to the meeting to express their support for the plan.
"Keweenaw National Historical Park is here to preserve and interpret the story of copper on the Keweenaw Peninsula," said Scott See, executive director of the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission. "That does not mean that's mutually exclusive with economic development, and I think you have shown that balance in the document, and we applaud you for doing that."
St. Germain said the public response has made for a better plan.
"The ideal master plan is that it reflects the nature and the spirit of the community," he said. "And I have no doubt that our master plan that Houghton County has developed really does reflect the spirit of our community, because we had a lot of input and feedback during this process that has really strengthened the plan, because it clarified the plurality of values we see in our community, and the plan reflects that now."
The plan now heads to the county board, which is expected to vote on the matter at its July 10 meeting. If the board votes against the update, the original 2006 plan will remain in effect. The board would also have to give a reason for a vote against the plan.