Home > Cultural Movement, Design the Details, Economics, Planning > Date night? Tuesday night at the TC’s Planning Commission

Date night? Tuesday night at the TC’s Planning Commission

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Engage and Represent

Tonight on Traverse City’s Planning Commission’s agenda (TC):

You can view tonight’s packet via the City’s website or download pdf of the packet here (12.5 mb)


On the latter, my position has been clear since the hullabaloo broke out last summer. Street vending is good for a city. Among other benefits, it increases walk appeal, fosters social encounters, provides a diversity of consumer options, and attracts more people to spend more time in certain locations. As has been said repeatedly over the last 6-9 months, street vending done well doesn’t hurt the brick and mortar businesses, it improves them.

The Seven-Myths and Realities of Food Trucks (IJ) is just one example of the prevailing literature. –>

Related from Ann Arbor (AA), a story of two entrepreneurs who started as caterers, then became owners of a food cart, and now just opened their first restaurant. In part, because Ann Arbor has figured out a means to promote small businesses. And, why not? It’s all about community.

Building a community through food has always been our motivation.”

~ Joel Panozzo, owner of The Lunch Room

You can send your comments on of the agenda items to the planning commissioners and City Planner via the contacts page.


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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are that of the author and do not represent the opinions of writers previously published here or any of the organizations, committees, commissions or other affiliation the authors may belong to, unless so stated.

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  1. February 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    What time does the meeting start? I am hoping to make it since I’m here now. Just back from Portland – land of food carts!

  2. February 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

    7pm at the Governmental Center on Boardman Ave. Same time for the DDA meeting on February 12th.

    Note, not aware of any actual street food to be available at the meeting or in the parking lot. Like most City meetings, it’s BYO snacks.

  3. February 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for posting this Gary! I wasn’t aware of the meeting tonight, only the one on the 12th. I have a night meeting but I am hoping to get out in time to make it there in support of food trucks in TC. Thanks again for all you do.

  4. mikecgrant
    February 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

    For what it’s worth, this was my public comment e-mailed prior to the Planning Commission in regard to the TBA project. Obviously, I have concerns about this repeated use of conditional re-zonings we’re seeing by developers and the City. So far, that I’m aware of, there has been the Morgan Farms project, the CVS, and now TBA. In each instance, you’ve got a customized zoning district being created for each particular project. Seems problematic to me. Not surprised that developers are using conditional re-zoning, because it allows them to potentially get the exact zoning that they want and without the provisions they don’t want (e.g., no drive-throughs or a more difficult standard for a drive-through, limited amounts of parking, etc.) But I’m not sure if the City is benefiting from this.

    “I would generally support the proposed project in terms of its proposal to construct a multi-story office building in what should be an extension of the existing core downtown business area. However, I do not support approval of this project via a conditional re-zoning. I believe, for the reasons stated below, that conditional re-zoning should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances in terms of the nature of the property and/or the proposed development and I am not aware of such circumstances in regard to either this property or this development. My concern with permitting projects such as these via conditional re-zonings is that it will lead to a piecemeal approach to zoning regulation in the City as each applicant seeks their own customized zoning for their particular project. Permitting via conditional re-zoning could have several possible negative consequences.

    First, permitting projects via conditional re-zoning makes it more difficult for other property owners and applicants to know what they may permissibly do with their properties. For example, there are a number of commercial corridors in the City in which the current uses are less intensive than those that would be permitted by the future zoning identified in the Master Plan (e.g., 14th Street, 8th Street, West Front Street, etc.), and these area are all likely candidates for possibly seeking conditional re-zonings.

    Second, permitting projects via conditional re-zoning makes it more difficult for the City to plan for provision of public services to these areas because it is, again, unclear, what the ultimate outcome of these successive conditional re-zonings will be. For example, it is possible that if this area of East Front Street was built out to C-4 zoning an additional public parking structure might need to be located there.

    Third, permitting via conditional re-zoning is likely to make the public cynical in regard to zoning generally as the uniformity of the zoning ordinance is undermined by each successive conditional re-zoning.

    And, lastly, the City’s zoning ordinance is unclear what the standard should be applied for the PC to decide whether and when such a conditional re-zoning is appropriate. The standard referenced by the City’s ordinance (MCL 125.3201(1)) is not really a standard for deciding whether to approve a land use permit. What is stated in that section, instead, was the rationale for the state legislature for allowing local governments to do zoning in general. The lack of an appropriate standard by which this conditional re-zoning could be approved (or disapproved for that matter) could, again, make it more difficult for the private and public sector to be able to predict what zoning should and will be in the City. As well as, again, make the public cynical about zoning generally when it is unclear on what basis the City will approve or disapprove a conditional re-zoning.

    My suggestion would be to deny the proposed conditional re-zoning and encourage the applicant to, instead, seek a re-zoning of the property to the C-4 district, which is identified in the Master Plan as being the desired future zoning classification for this property.”

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