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Reports Aired On Development

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Reports on three General Development Plan discussion papers covering circulation, community facilities and land use were the major topics considered at yesterday's Planning Commission meeting. The General Development Plan is expected to be completed by mid-October at which time it will be presented to the City Council for adoption. Speaking on the circulation working paper, Planning Department staff member Michael R. Prochaska told commissioners that one of the basic problems facing the city is that its 1980 thoroughfare plan is not sufficient and that alternatives to the plan must be considered. Elements of the circulation plan must include coordination of motor traffic, pedestrian movement and mass transportation. It is important to create a balanced system, Prochaska said, and not concentrate on any one phase too heavily. He said the city must begin to separate pedestrian movement from traffic movement and must undertake the construction of parking facilities on the perimeter of the city to tie in with a mass transit system. Prochaska emphasized that all systems "must be linked together." On the matter of land use, Prochaska said the city must begin projecting a use pattern and relate the core area to developments occurring outside the central business district. He also said the city must develop sound criteria for land use in areas now lying outside the city limits. Related to these items is community facilities. Staff Member Donald Byard said one of the most important decisions for the city to make is where it plans to expand, whether to the north, east or west. He also said the city must look at its policy of not extending services without annexation and cooperation with other units of government which have water and sewer facilities. "Without answering these questions the area may develop illogically," Byard said. He noted that the city's sewage treatment plant may reach its capacity by 1972 or 1975 and a decision must be reached whether to expand the plant or tie into another system such as one which would service the entire Huron River basin. On the question of water, Byard said the plant would run close to capacity by 1975 if the city experienced a severe drought at the same time maximum usage generally occurs. It was emphasized that the city would not be in danger of not having water but that if these conditions existed in 1975 there would be some restrictions on its use, such as a lawn sprinkling ban. Byard said the city is currently "pretty much okay" on park land but that an additional 1,500 acres would be needed by 1980, this park land to be provided by the city, county and school board. Currently, the city provides 46 per cent of park land, the University provides 46 per cent and the schools provide five per cent. He also said that the school system will possibly have to expand its facilities by 100 per cent by 1980 and added that a decision must be reached on whether the school board continues its present policy of establishing neighborhood schools or if it should go to a "campus" system. On other items, Byard said the city must develop additional facilities for the Police Department, perhaps by constructing a public safety building which would include a new central fire station, and must consider the building of a civic center for city use.