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Acting as One on the Primary Regional Issues:

Land use planning/growth management

Tax-base sharing

Fair share affordable housing

Economic development marketing

Prepared for

Kalamazoo Consortium for Higher Education

Kalamazoo, MI
October 7, 1998


David Rusk
4100 Cathedral Avenue, NW #610
Washington, DC 20016-3584
(202) 364-2455 (phone)
(202) 364-6936 (fax)

Ultimate form of The Kalamazoo County Compact

Plan A

Either a multi-year (minimum 10 years), binding contractual agreement between Kalamazoo County Government (as unifying agent) and 24 cities, villages, and townships (e.g. the Dayton, Ohio ED/GE model); or

Plan B

Concurrent ordinances enacted by county government and 24 cities, villages, and townships implementing individual elements of countywide plans and policies (e.g. the Lancaster, Pa. anti-sprawl model) Countywide Land Use Plan (the keystone)

Step 1. County planning staff drafts proposed process, 18-24 month schedule, budget for countywide land use plan.

Step 2. Proposal discussed with and amended by members of Kalamazoo County Council of Governments. Shares of proposed budget allocated. (Possibility of private sector matching grants as incentives?)

Step 3. County Commission and city, village, and township governing bodies adopt resolutions committing participation and appropriating budget shares through intergovernmental agreements to county government.

Step 4. County planning staff oversees 18-24 month comprehensive planning process.

Comprehensive Planning Process Guidelines

Set a 50-year planning horizon with alternative population growth scenarios (based on employment growth).

Devote 75% of attention to issues within Kalamazoo County, but 25% to issues regarding neighboring counties in Southwest Michigan (i.e. Calhoun, Van Buren, etc.)

Provide for substantial public participation in developing countywide vision through surveys, visioning workshops, and public hearings. Urge public to respond as residents of region rather than as residents of individual jurisdictions.

Based on soil conditions, watersheds, other natural features, develop alternative scenarios for open spaces whether as

a) publicly-owned parks and natural areas (recreation, ambient protection, etc.), or as

b) privately-owned farmland (which serves dual economic function of agricultural production and open space/conservation).

Analyze development potential of in-place infrastructure (utilities, roads and highways, school buildings, other public facilities).

Analyze costs of new infrastructure for alternative development patterns.

Consult public on alternative development scenarios through circulating tabloid-type planning document, surveys, public hearings, etc.

Consult with members of council of governments regarding recommended 50-year regional form and implications for 20-year implementation plan.

Develop 20-year implementation plan, including designation of

a) agricultural and open space protection zones (e.g. 1 unit:25 acres),

b) urban growth zones,

c) minimum residential density goals for each jurisdiction,

d) location of major commercial development,

e) location of major industrial and technology parks, and

f) location and phasing of major infrastructure investments (e.g. make roads servant of land use plans, not vice versa).

10. Pause to negotiate "the ties that bind."

The Ties That Bind I:

Tax-Base Sharing (Portage’s contribution) as part of The Kalamazoo County Compact applies to commercial/industrial property local jurisdiction keeps 100% of base year 40% of growth pooled thereafter possible set-aside (i.e. 25%) for purchase of farmland development rights redistribution formula based on population and relative tax capacity. Under any plan, Portage would be primary net contributor, and most townships would be primary net recipients (proportionally).

Portage’s incentive: countywide land use plan that channels more growth into Portage.

Townships’ incentive: cost/benefit analysis of greenfield development.

The Ties That Bind II:

Wastewater Treatment Plant (city of Kalamazoo’s contribution) as part of The Kalamazoo County Compact city of Kalamazoo can renegotiate wastewater allocations (in conformance with comprehensive land use plan), rates charged non-city customers (providing possible rate reductions), governance structure (townships gain direct decision making power over rate-making and capacity allocation issues), and d. ownership (regional ownership of treatment plant).

Kalamazoo’s incentive: land use plan and housing policies that help restore growth, social balance

The Ties That Bind III:

Farmland Protection Fund (urbanized area’s contribution) county-administered fund to purchase development rights from farmers in agricultural protection zones funded by share (i.e. 25%) of annual tax-base sharing pool from growth in commercial/industrial state equalized valuation would match state and private funds Note: transferable development rights (privately-purchased) could be supplemental policy if market demand stronger than currently exists.

The Ties That Bind IV:

Mixed-Income Housing Policy (shared responsibility regionally) Countywide policy would require that, for all new housing construction of minimum size (e.g. 25 units), at least 20% would be affordable for purchase or rental by moderate income households (65% of countywide household income).

Public or private, non-profit agency given first right of purchase or rental of 1/3 of affordable units (7%). Resale prices controlled for 10 years, affordable rents controlled for 20 years. Builders provided density bonuses (e.g. up to 22% higher than maximum zoning)

The Ties That Bind V:

Economic Development Fund (joint public/private contribution)

Fresh Start proposal nearing success (almost $17 million pledged)

Possibility of waiving local government’s contribution for fiscal hardship or pledge of future tax-base sharing revenues

Project eligibility dependent on jurisdiction’s being signatory/participant in The Kalamazoo County Compact (like Dayton’s ED/GE program)

The Kalamazoo County Compact

Sealed by either Plan A or Plan B

Establish new relationship or new structure regarding KATS transportation planning responsibilities

Regional growth management

Regional tax-base sharing

Regional fair-share affordable housing

Regional economic development

A Model for Michigan

A Model for USA

A Major Economic Development

Marketing Tool

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