Sub-Regional Planning

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Sub-Regional Map

Among the many issues and strategies discussed in the early Blueprint process was one that is expected to lead to the first real regional plan for our Grand Rapids metro area: sub regional planning alliances.

While a great variety of concepts and projects are now being conducted in our metro area to help change the way we grow, it is the formation of sub regional planning alliances that GVMC is banking on to alter the way we plan for many decades to come. Simply put, sub regional alliances are municipalities coming together within logical or implicit groups based upon a unique role or place in the metropolitan landscape. Many such groups have already been established including the North Kent Townships Association, 4-Corners Planning Alliance, Ridge Economic Area Partners (REAP), the East Beltline Advisory Committee, the Northeast Beltline Committee, the 28th Street Corridor Committee, and others. It should not be a surprise that so many groups have been formed. There is a great need for local municipal authorities to share perspectives, information and administration of certain important cross-jurisdictions land use changes.

How does this affect regional planning? GVMC believes that the best way to bring about widespread use of "Blueprint" principles and to create a regional plan for future development is through a collaborative process with a series of regionally related sub regional groups. For this reason, the metro area has been divided into 7 groups, all logically related to various regional concerns. For example, the Southbelt Planning Alliance groups all the municipal authorities that are directly responsible for land use and planning decisions close to the new Southbelt Freeway proposed for the south side of the metro area. Another example is the "Fruit Ridge" planning association which is related to the unique agricultural qualities of the near northwest side of the metro area.

Once in place, these organizations will be involved in a collaborative planning process with regional planning staff at GVMC. The process will include both local charrettes to plan identified "livable areas" in these sub regions, as well as broader planning techniques to address the unique regional qualities of each area. Both types of planning will be broadly inclusive and involve local officials, citizens, planners, other engineering and design professionals, consultants, regional planning staff and others.

We feel at GVMC that this sub regional planning approach will allow for just the right amount local autonomy, neighborhood input, and regional networking to bring about a much needed new way of looking at ourselves and how we grow. If you would like more information on sub regional planning or the many other regional initiatives taking place in our metro area please e-mail Andy Bowman with your requests.

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