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Pittsfield’s Community-Centric Approach
By embracing diversity – economic, demographic, land use, and otherwise – Pittsfield Township has, since 2010, traded away dichotomies in favor of a blended approach. Rather than choosing between development or green space preservation, we have deployed such tools as carbon emission studies to do both, i.e., provide neighborhood destinations that preserve natural features and are accessible via multiple modes of transportation. Rather than choose between road improvements or traffic congestion, we have implemented road diets and retrofits that allow safer road sharing by multiple modes. Rather than choose between apartments or single-family houses, we have permitted multi-generational housing developments that support apartments, condominiums, and single-family housing. Rather than choose between sprawl or no development we have provided for revitalization and redevelopment of large swaths of vacant parking lots through infill development.
This complex approach rejects black and white dichotomies; it is neither pro-development nor pro-preservation. It is wholly and completely pro-community. The Township Master Plan update, going on currently, intends to articulate this mission within the context of sustainability and equity.
To that end, the Board of Trustees is in the process of approving the revised Open Space Preservation Development Option that will allow for greater preservation of open/green spaces and natural features while, simultaneously, minimizing sprawl. This month they will also consider making recommendations for constructing gas-free buildings with solar-ready units and parking for electric and autonomous vehicles. The Planning Commission will review expanding two of the six existing neighborhood, mixed use destinations along Carpenter and State roads that will allow us to further manifest our decade-old vision of providing for walkable and transit-oriented areas close to diverse residential developments. This is so folks can meet their daily needs, ranging from groceries and health care to restaurants and retail, locally. Expanding existing neighborhood destinations in the parts of our community least likely to disturb natural features while also expanding the affordable and diverse housing stock and promoting multi-modal inter-connections between employment, housing, recreational and daily amenities helps us meet our sustainability and equity mandate.
On that note, this year the Pittsfield Farmers Market remains available, especially for food-insecure and vulnerable members of our community, online. You can visit http://www.pittsfield-mi.gov/farmersmarket to shop with such vendors as Planted Detroit, Kapnick Orchards, Nemeth Greenhouse and Farms, Earthen Jar, Fluffy Bottom Farms, Cakes by Penny, and Cheeky Spices. Contactless pick up is provided for at the Township Campus (6201 W. Michigan Ave.).
As the Great Pandemic continues to wreak havoc, our goal remains to use this moment in history to strengthen our resolve to address socio-economic and racial inequities. With your partnership, we are using this disruption to reimagine resource allocations to improve equity and sustainability. Let’s keep our focus on the promise of that brighter future ahead as we face the challenges of today. Remember to be kind and patient with yourselves and each other - we are all in this together!!
Mandy Grewal, Ph.D.