City of South Haven 2018 Master Plan

The City of South Haven recently adopted the 2018 Master Plan.  You will find the document in its entirety, including separate links for maps offering convenient navigation in the links below. 

2018 Master Plan
2018 Master Plan Maps
2018 Master Plan Future Land Use Map

What is a Master Plan?

A strategic plan that looks at long-term visions for the entire city: 5, 10, 20 years into the future.

The Plan proposes policies, goals, objectives, and implementation strategies to reach those visions.

How is the Master Plan developed and written?

It is done through a public process of workshops, meetings, and coordination among the Planning Commission, city staff, the public, and your elected officials.

  • Joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting where City Council approves the distribution of the DRAFT Master Plan for a 63-day comment period.
  • After the 63-days: Planning Commission holds a public hearing and recommends adoption to City Council.
  • City Council adopts the Master Plan and distributes it to adjacent communities.
How is the Master Plan different from the Zoning Ordinance?

The Master Plan looks at what the community would like for the City of South Haven  to be in the future.  It takes the current zoning districts and the uses permitted in each into account, but looks beyond the current situation to see how the City should change and stay the same.

More important to the Master Plan is the Future Land Use Map and the sections on Housing and Transportation and the implementation strategies to reach those goals and objectives.

The Process requires the public, staff, and the planning commission to think in ideals and not in current constraints.

The Zoning Ordinance is then sometimes amended or in some instances rewritten to implement the goals through current development.  Sometimes, however, the Zoning Ordinance is not changed.  It is another process often facilitated by consultants.

2018 Master Plan Development and Implementation

In 2016, the Planning Commission reviewed the Master Plan and determined they would like to rewrite the Master Plan.  They Incorporated some of the goals from the 2011 Mater Plan, and gathered public input to create a more user-friendly Master Plan.

The kick-off to the planning process began in October 2016 and  achieved adoption by the City Council in November 2018.

The Planning Commission acted as the steering committee for the process with consultants from MainStreet Planning Company.  The process for the update included 22 public meetings which consisted of 11 work sessions with the consultant, 3 neighborhood workshops, an issue identification workshop with the Downtown Development Finance Authority, a bus tour on the M-43/I-196 Business Loop, a design charrette for the Overton property, and a community open house on the land use maps on December 20, 2017.  In addition to the public meetings, a city-wide survey was mailed to citizens which deemed a 26.9% reply rate.

The Planning Commission ratified their comments in PC Resolution 2018-01 at a special meeting on October 11, 2018.  The City Council considered the Resolution  2018-52 adopting the 2018 Master Plan at their regular meeting on November 19, 2018.

Planning Commission Resolution 2018-01
City Council Resolution 2018-52

The City of South Haven will continue to utilize the Master Plan as a planning guide for many of our communities projects as we move into the future.  The Michigan Planning and Enabling Act, Public Act 33 of 2008, requires review and potential updates of the Master Plan every 5 years.  This is also a requirement for the Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC) program, which is a state-wide certification program supporting economic development.