To briefly recap the highlights of August 9’s Flint Planning Commission meeting:
- The site plan for the Flint Institute of Art’s expansion was approved. It will involve new gallery space as well as a demonstration and glass-blowing area. Potential concerns around parking sufficiency were addressed through shared parking agreements with Mott Community College.
- A concession/public address/restroom facility was approved for the baseball field at Kearsley Park.
- We postponed a Special Regulated Use request from Airpark Investments LLC for a medical marijuana provisioning center. The applicant will have the opportunity to provide missing information at the September 13 meeting. We also requested the city attorney’s office to provide a report addressing concerns raised by some members of the public regarding the possible repercussions of a provisioning center/marijuana growing operation occurring next to the airport. Some of the concerns included the impact on any federal funding, airport security, or “through the fence” agreements that permit users access to runways.
In terms of updates on the Master Plan implementation:
- A document called “Rebuild Flint the Right Way” was prepared by City staff and introduced by Mayor Weaver in her State of the City address to look at how to fix water infrastructure through the lens of the Master Plan. This is a comprehensive and, in my opinion, clear-headed way to address infrastructure. Its main hallmarks are taking a block-by-block rather than a house-by-house approach; addressing all pieces of the system damaged by corrosive water/tainted with lead (i.e. mains, service lines, and in some cases water heaters or interior plumbing); using the opportunity of digging up the mains to improve other infrastructure, such as sewer lines or laying fiber optic cable and replacing conventional streetlights with LED; and using environmentally-friendly practices, such as channeling rainwater to green areas rather than storm drains. The document is rather short, full of graphics, and available at imagineflint.com.
- Flint has received $20 million in TIGER funding (a transportation grant) that will help put some of this in practice. There are only 4 or 5 primary water transmission lines in the city. This funding will allow Flint to do significant work on two of them – Atherton Rd. (from Dort to Grand Traverse) and Dupont St. (from Stewart to Flushing) It will fund complete reconstruction of the water main and roadway using the “road diet” framework of the Master Plan, which reduces traditional travel lanes where traffic flows no longer warrant them and instead put in features such as bike lanes, transit lanes, etc. Additional funding is needed to layer in the other envisioned amenities, such as LED streetlights and fiber optic cable. The City also submitted a $160 million request to HUD.
- The Planning Commission has now reviewed all chapters of the updated zoning code draft. There have been several public workshops and open houses in the past two years, as well as reviews from UM’s law school and other zoning experts. A cleaned-up version of the newest draft is now on imagineflint.com. With that, we scheduled a public hearing on the draft zoning code for Tuesday, August 30 at 6:00 pm at City Hall. This is a special meeting. After the public hearing, we could vote to approve the draft zoning code and recommend it to the City Council for final adoption or we could decide additional edits are needed.
At tonight’s 6:00 pm meeting, the only item on the agenda other than Master Plan implementation update is a site plan for a micro-distillery and tasting room for 4601 Fenton Rd.