by DREW HOWARD
The City of Rochester Hills will utilize public feedback to develop its 2018 Master Plan. Updated every five years, the Master Plan is a big-picture document that outlines how city planning officials will use land for housing, transportation, commerce and recreation. City officials take the needs of both current and future residents and businesses into account when developing the document.
In order to create a plan that best suits the needs and wants of everyone, the City of Rochester Hills is actively seeking public input through a variety of channels that will help shape the future of the city.
The first is a 10-question online survey hosted by SurveyMonkey, which can be found on the Rochester Hills official website. The survey includes a combination of written and multiple choice questions concerning roads, parks, housing, and much more.
Mayor Bryan Barnett told the Gazette that the city is trying to make it especially easy to solicit as much information from the public as possible.
“This is a more advanced way to get information as opposed to the old school method of holding a town hall,” Barnett said. “You have to make innovative ways to keep up with an innovative community.”
The survey also asks respondents to choose three things they’d like to see improved in the city, three things they like the most about the city, as well as the challenges they believe Rochester Hills is facing.
Another channel for public feedback is through the city’s “PictureThis!” initiative. Sara Roediger, director of Planning and Economic Development, said the initiative allows residents to communicate with officials by submitting pictures of what they like and dislike in the city.
“If you see something that needs to be improved, or even if you’re in another community and see something you like and think we should do it in Rochester Hills, you can basically identify it through the [PictureThis!] app,” Roediger said. “You can say ‘improve or preserve this’ or ‘put something new here.’ It makes it easier for people to portray their vision of the community.”
Roediger said the city will also target future residents, more specifically those ages 5-18, through an art contest.
“We want to engage millennials and children who are the future of Rochester Hills, people who will be living here in 20 years,” Roediger said. “We want to know what they want to see, and what better way to interact with children than through an art contest?”
“They can write a poem, draw a picture or do any other artistic depiction of what the city can look like in the future.”
The 2018 Master Plan is expected to be completed by this fall. Along the way, residents will have the opportunity to attend community workshops and traditional open houses where they can voice concerns and comment on drafts of the Master Plan.
“The more feedback we can get, the better,” Barnett said. “That’s our approach. We won’t stop at 100 or 500 people – we want to hear from as many residents as possible.”
You can find more details about upcoming workshops by emailing planning@rochester hills.org. For more information about the 2018 Master Plan and how to submit feedback, please visit rochesterhills.org/masterplan.