Mount Pleasant

Planning Commission approves use of background study data, Orlik honored for 26 years of service to the city

Mount Pleasant’s master plan update is one step closer to being finalized.

The Planning Commission agreed Thursday to use a revised draft detailing the city’s population, housing and socioeconomic data, slated to provide information for the background studies portion of the updated master plan.

However, this won’t be the last time the commission has a chance to review the data.

“The language will be subject to further public review and comment once the complete draft is ready in late 2013,” Director of Planning and Community Development Jeff Gray said.

The data, primarily from the 2010 census, was complied by the city and students from the GEO 531: Integrated Land Use Planning course at Central Michigan University.

In working with the students, Gray said they focused on presenting the data visually.

“Looking across the board, there are some significant upsides to being a university town,” Gray said.

According to the data presented to the Planning Commission, 65 percent of rental properties are reported occupied.

This was further reflected as Mount Pleasant reported a vacancy rate of 6.7 percent, lower than Isabella County’s 9.8 percent rate and the statewide 14.6 percent rate in 2010.

More than 60 percent of the city also reported an education attainment, which included, but was not limited to: some college, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree and a graduate or professional degree.

A high concentration of people live on CMU’s campus, and more than 25 percent of the population fall between the ages of 20 and 24.

“This was my first venture working with a student class and this was the professor’s first venture doing a project like this that was kind of a real world example,” Gray said. “We were both pleased with the outcome, and hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to do something similar in the future.”

Planning Commission Chairman Peter Orlik recommended somewhat tightening the report’s language.

Some commissioners had other concerns.

Commissioner Michael Kostrzewa said a population of about 26,000 sounded significantly lower than what he would expect considering the university’s presence.

“There seems to be something missing there,” he said.

Gray said the information from the population only includes people who live within city limits.

However, not all students are included within these numbers, Gray said. Some students and other residents were counted under other jurisdictions such as Union Township and Isabella County.

Other business

“Tonight marks the end of 28 years of service by Pete Orlik to the city of Mount Pleasant,” said Jeff Smith, vice chairman of the Planning Commission.

Beginning in 1982, Orlik served six years with the Housing Board of Appeals, ending his term in 1988, Smith said. He then immediately began serving on the zoning board of appeals for nine years until 1997. Orlik then joined the Planning Commission, where he has served for 13 years.

“Now, I don’t know exactly how many of those years he was chairman, but I would imagine it was probably more than half of that,” Smith said. “And if you do the math, which I like to do, that’s 156 Thursday night meetings.”

Orlik was presented with a plaque honoring his years of service to the city.

“As chairman, Pete has set an outstanding example of leadership,” Smith said. “His knowledge of municipal planning has offered us some tremendous oversight over the years, and as other commissioners have come and gone, Pete has really been an anchor for us.”

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