Reed City, Richmond consider joint planning commission

REED CITY – The next step in the development of the Reed City area may involve more collaboration.

Reed City manager Ron Marek proposed the idea of a joint planning commission between Reed City, Lincoln and Richmond townships and the Village of Hersey at the Reed City/Richmond Economic Development Committee meeting April 26.

Reed City and Richmond Township currently have individual planning commissions that meet to discuss zoning, development and planning for their region.

Marek said moving forward with projects for overall area enhancement would be smoother if the groups met together.

“As we start looking at a hotel or restaurant, (the best option) might be forming a joint planning commission,” Marek said.

Another potential project is a regional fire department, which Marek added could be done if a joint commission was formed to take on project research.

Dan Massey, economic development coordinator for Osceola County, said unity is a vital part if area development is going to take place.

“I think it’s important that everywhere the city and township touch, they are on the same wavelength,” Massey said.

Two members of the RCREDC currently serve on the Reed City and Richmond Township planning commissions. Reed City Council member Marlene Fatum is a member of the Reed City Planning Commission and Richmond Township Treasurer Edie Betzing is a member of the Richmond Township Planning Commission.

In the past, commissioners from the two groups have attended each other’s meetings, but the collaboration has since ceased, Fatum said.

“I think a problem you might run into is people in the township can’t relate to issues in the city,” said Maynard Bluhm, Richmond Township supervisor.

The group discussed the option of the joint commission being assigned to an area connecting both Reed City and Richmond Township, to work on planning in one specific area and remain separate from the two existing commissions.

“Maybe what we should do first, before considering combining the two planning commissions would be to have them meet together once a quarter and see how it works out,” Bluhm said.

The group concluded with a decision to obtain more information from the individual planning commissions before taking any action.

Also under discussion was potential areas for development, including the corner of 220th Avenue and US-10 and the west side of the BP gas station on US-10, which would require new water lines before development could take place.

The group’s next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on May 24 at Reed City City Hall.