About the Planning Commission
The City's Planning Commission is responsible for the planning functions of the City, as covered in the relevant sections of the State of Michigan's Planning Enabling Act and Zoning Enabling Act, as well as the City's General Ordinances. Authorized by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (Act 33 of 2008) and General Ordinances, Chapter 2, Article III.
The Planning Commission holds quarterly meetings in January, April, July and October at 7:00 PM Eastern Time in the Community Room at City Hall, 224 W. Buffalo St., New Buffalo, MI 49117 or by electronic meeting. It is important to check the City calendar to confirm meeting dates, times, and details.
Please direct any questions regarding clerical matters to the City Clerk.
Five members are appointed with staggered, three-year terms. Effective September 17, 2019, Ordinance 243 of 2019 reduced members from seven (7) to five (5).
The chair, vice-chair, and secretary are selected annually in June.
All meetings are open to the public and are accessible. Persons requiring auxiliary aides and services or other accommodations should contact the City Clerk's office at 269-469-1500.
Commissioners use the City's Zoning Ordinance, Master Plan, and the Planning Commission's By-laws to assist them with their duties.
Anyone who would like to request site plan approval, special use approval, subdivision approval, rezoning a property, zoning ordinance amendment, etc. – as specified in the City's General Ordinances and Zoning Ordinance - should fill out a Planning Commission/ ZBA Application and submit it to the Office of the Zoning Administrator via the City Manager. Please direct all questions and concerns regarding zoning to the City Manager.
The powers and duties of the Planning Commission are explained in City Ordinances, Chapter 2 "Administration", Article II "Planning Commission", including:
Lake Michigan Coastal Communities Trail Towns Master Plan
The "Lake Michigan Coastal Communities Trail Towns Master Plan" is designed to better leverage and maximize the economic potential of trail-based tourism within the community. The plan was developed by LIAA and funding was provided through the Michigan's Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP) and the SWMPC. To find more information, including the full report of the Lake Michigan Coastal Communities please click on the following link. http://www.swmpc.org/trailtowns.asp
Master Plan (2018)
The 2018 Draft Master Plan was approved by the Planning Commission on July 24, 2018 and City Council on July 26, 2018. It is now in the distribution process. We will keep you updated as soon as a Public Hearing for adoption is ready to be scheduled. The Master Plan was approved by City Council on November 13, 2018.
Section 2-15. Adoption of master plan.
It shall be the function and duty of the Planning Commission to make and adopt a master plan for the physical development of the City, including any areas outside its boundaries which, in the Commission's judgment, bear relation to the planning of the City.
Section 2-16. Powers and duties generally.
The Planning Commission shall have such powers and duties as are set forth in the provisions of Act 285 of the Public Acts of 1931, as amended (Michigan Statutes Annotated, section 5.2991, et seq.) as well as such additional powers and duties as may be conferred or imposed upon it from time to time by the laws of the state, including, but not by way of limitation:
A. Preparation of a zoning plan for the control of the height, area, bulk, location, and use of buildings and premises.
B. Preparation of comprehensive surveys and studies of present conditions and future growth of the City.
C. Formal adoption of the master plan, in whole or in part.
D. Recommendation for approval of streets, parks, other public ways, grounds, open spaces, and public buildings or structures.
E. Recommending programs for public structures and improvements and for the financing thereof.
F. Publication and distribution of copies of the plan and any reports of such Commission.
G. Approval of plats and subdivisions prior to the filing or recording and adoption of regulations governing the subdivision of land within the jurisdiction of such Commission.
H. In general, such powers as may be necessary to enable the Planning Commission to fulfill its function.
I. After adoption of the master plan, certification of plats as set forth in Act 222, Public Acts of 1943, as amended (Michigan Statutes Annotated, Section 5.3007 (1) et seq.).