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Grand Vision: Wexford Perspective

Grand Vision: Wexford Perspective

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The Grand Vision:

A Wexford County Perspective

The Grand Vision: A Wexford County Perspective
Page 2

Copies of the reports are provided as an attach-

ment to this summary and are also available

online at www.thegrandvision.org.

Please note that a transportation-specific report,

Travel Demand Model Methodology, is forthcom-

ing; data was not available at the time this report

was completed.


The process leading up to the Grand Vision be-

gan with a conflict over a proposed connection

of Hartman and Hammond Roads in Grand

Traverse County, south of Traverse City. Be-

cause of disagreement over the advantages and

disadvantages of this connection, the proposal

was put on hold to allow the community to study

its impacts in more detail. In the spring of 2005,

$3.3 million in federal transportation money was

reallocated from plans for the bypass and given

to the Grand Traverse area for the creation and

implementation of a comprehensive, multimodal

transportation plan.

To ensure that this planning process would be

accountable, transparent, representative, and

citizen-focused, the Grand Traverse County

Board of Commissioners created and appointed

the Land Use & Transportation Coordinating

Group (LUTS), now known as the Grand Vision

Coordinating Group. This body included a

broadly representative group of citizens con-

cerned about transportation and land use issues

– including county representatives from Antrim,

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau,

and Wexford Counties; transportation agencies;

business leaders; environmental organizations;

township, city, and tribal representatives; educa-

tional institutions; nonprofits; and the general

public (list of representatives included in Appen-

dix A). These members acted with the following


“Our mission is to use a transparent and citizen

led discussion and process to ensure the devel-

opment of a community vision, plans for the fu-

ture, and projects that address land use and

transportation challenges facing the region.”

The Coordinating Group developed a request for

proposals for a study and process that would

meet the group’s mission of transparency and

public involvement while addressing transporta-

tion and land use in a comprehensive plan. Us-

ing $1.3 million of the reallocated transportation

dollars, the Coordinating Group hired a consult-

ant team led by Mead & Hunt that included

Robert Grow and John Fregonese, the nation’s

foremost experts in scenario planning and public

participation (for consultant bios, see Appendix

B). The process was to begin with public plan-

ning workshops that would ask citizens to de-

velop different scenarios for the future. Consult-

ants would show how these scenarios would

move traffic, develop land, and supply housing;

then the public would be asked to choose the

scenario that best fits the future of the region.

The LUTS Coordinating Group recognized early

on that transportation issues in Grand Traverse

County were directly and significantly impacted

by surrounding counties. In 2007 and 2008, the

study was expanded to include Antrim, Benzie,

Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford Counties. The

expansion of the study increased the total cost

of the study by $240,000. The added cost was

funded by a combination of sources including

the Michigan Department of Transportation

($100,000), the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa

and Chippewa Indians ($50,000), Traverse City

Area Chamber of Commerce ($10,000), North-

western Michigan College ($10,000), Munson

The Grand Vision: A Wexford County Perspective
Page 3

Healthcare ($10,000), and county contributions

totaling $30,000. Wexford County committed

$6,000 to the expanded scope of the project.

Study Process

In September 2007, “LUTS” became “The Grand

Vision;” and the citizen input phase of the project

began on October 17,

2007, with a scenario

planning workshop at the Park Place Hotel in

Traverse City. The event was widely publicized

throughout the region, resulting in high atten-

dance: over 500 participants from all counties in

the region worked in groups of 6-10 to create

maps showing their vision for land use over the

next 50 years. Subsequent workshops were held

throughout the winter and spring of 2008. “Small

area” workshops, focusing in-depth on Traverse

City, Acme, and Interlochen were held in Febru-

ary 2008; and two regional transportation work-

shops were held on March 20, 2008. Participa-

tion levels for all workshops were high, totaling

several hundred participants (see Table 4,

“Grand Vision Participation,” page 11). Work-

shops focusing specifically on Antrim, Benzie,

Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford Counties were

held in each county in May 2008.

Grand Vision Scorecard

The Grand Vision: A Wexford County Perspective
Page 4

At the scenario planning workshops, consultants

presented information on current growth patterns

and discussed how our population will change in

the coming years. Citizens were provided with a

large map and asked to identify transportation

changes and future locations of agriculture, open

space and different development types using

special stickers, or “chips,” that reflected the

amount of population growth the region will ex-

perience through 2060. Participants worked in

groups of 6-10, discussing chip locations in de-

tail along with their values and concerns relative

to each land use type; comments were written

on the maps and were included in later analyses

of the maps.

Based on the input received at the workshops, a

random-sample survey was designed by Harris

Interactive, a national polling firm. This survey

questioned participants on their values and con-

cerns. Results were accurate to the county level.

Survey results and workshop maps were ana-

lyzed to develop four different scenarios that

would reflect different public preferences and

development patterns. Each scenario included

indicators relative to housing units, land con-

sumed, annual driving hours and gas expenses,

and cost of lane miles (see Table 1 for scenarios

and descriptions).

These scenarios were presented in a Grand Vi-

sion “scorecard” that asked for input on the four

scenarios. The scorecard provided information

and graphics on how each scenario would im-

pact the number of housing units, investments in

road lane miles, and acres of land consumed.

Questions asked participants to choose which

scenario they felt did the best job of promoting

the values that were identified during the values

survey and workshop process; and additional

questions asked for input on transportation in-

vestments, housing types, and other land use


The Grand Vision scorecard was printed and

distributed throughout the region in early Octo-

ber 2008, and was also made available online at

www.thegrandvision.org. A total of 11,603 score-

cards were received in a three week time period.

Results were reviewed and analyzed to develop

the “preferred scenario,” which included ele-

ments of all scenarios with a focus on scenario

C – otherwise known as the “village-based” sce-

nario. This preferred scenario was presented to

the public in February 2009 with a public com-

ment period open through March 2009. After

additional public input was received, the sce-

nario was further refined into a

preferred scenario that became the Grand Vi-

sion. The Grand Vision was further tested in

April 2009 through a random-sample survey that

asked respondents questions based both on the

survey, and on the final Grand Vision.

The Grand Vision

The Grand Vision is a vision of regional growth

that is built on public input. While it represents

one of the region’s most far-reaching planning

efforts and reflects our community’s highest pri-

orities, the Grand Vision has no authority to re-

quire change. Making the Grand Vision a reality

will require policy changes, new models for de-

velopment, and innovative new programs—all of

which will require cooperation between organiza-

tions and across governmental boundaries. In

precisely the same spirit of cooperation that cre-

ated the Grand Vision, implementation of the

Grand Vision will depend on the participation

and collaboration of local and county govern-

ments, citizens, and private, nonprofit, and pub-

lic organizations. To facilitate this collaboration,

Grand Vision stakeholders have endorsed an

implementation structure that will invite broad

participation and representation through a Grand

Vision partnership and working group structure.

The Grand Vision: A Wexford County Perspective
Page 5

New Hous-

ing Units

in W


able Areas

Acres of

Farm and

Forest Land


New Homes

and Multi-

family Units


Hours Spent

Driving Per



Cost of






Gas Ex-



Tons of




Scenario A: Future growth will follow the existing trend of

low-density development in rural areas, with minimal growth

in existing cities and villages. Transportation investments

will be largely in widened roadways for commuters, and

include some multi-use trails, but minimal investments in

bus service and walkability.




7,460 (forest)












Scenario B: Future growth will occur in rural areas, but with

new homes clustered to maximize open space, and minimal

growth in existing cities and villages. Transportation invest-

ments will be largely in new or widened roadways for com-

muters. This scenario includes some investment in walking

and bicycling trails but the effectiveness of transit and walk-

ability for commuting is limited by low densities.









(single fam-



$86 mil-





Scenario C: Future growth will occur primarily in the re-

gion’s cities and villages, with additional growth in the main

cities of Traverse City and Cadillac. Large amounts of rural

open space are preserved. This development pattern will

require investments in regional bus service, sidewalks, and

bike trails in villages and cities, with some investments in

new or widened roadways.




2,469 (forest)

10,100 (multi-






$78 mil-





Scenario D: Future housing development and job growth

will occur primarily in the region’s two main cities, Traverse

City and Cadillac. Large amounts of rural open space are

preserved. This development pattern will require investment

in urban bus circulators, sidewalks, and biking paths in

those two main cities. This scenario has limited investment

in new or widened roadways.




2,173 (forest)







$58 mil-





Table 1: Future Growth Scenarios: Descriptions and Measurements

The Grand Vision: A Wexford County Perspective
Page 6

Public input and involvement formed the founda-

tion of the Grand Vision process. To help en-

courage this involvement, a subcommittee of the

Coordinating Group, known as the Public In-

volvement Committee (PIC), became active in

October 2007. The group included consultants,

staff, and volunteers throughout the six-county

region, and met weekly to develop strategies

that would result in maximum participation levels

and awareness throughout the region. The com-

mittee developed a comprehensive marketing

and communications plan that focused on

hands-on involvement through a series of large

and small events, direct communication, earned

media exposure, and targeted communications

to youth and seniors.

Public events. Numerous presentations
were provided to the general public, local

service groups, human service collaborative

groups, chambers of commerce, local and

county governments, and many

other organizations. Presentations

were provided by a “speaker’s

bureau” consisting of consultants

and PIC members.
Displays and materials. Informa-
tional displays including banners,

posters, update newsletters,

bumper stickers, informational

tool kits, PowerPoint presenta-

tions, and distribution and collec-

tion boxes were made available to

all interested citizens; with dis-

plays and materials set up at

high-traffic community events and


Direct mail. Postcards were mailed to every
household in each county announcing the

scorecard kickoffs and encouraging readers

to fill out their scorecard. An additional post-

card with a similar message was sent to

each American Association of Retired Per-

sons (AARP) member household, allowing

the PIC to reinforce the message with an

audience that was less likely to use the

Earned media. Regular press releases
were issued to update the public on the lat-

est Grand Vision events and progress.
Email blasts. “Viral” networking was used to
communicate directly with groups and indi-

viduals; announcements and updates were

frequently emailed to interested parties and

passed on to associated individuals, and

stories were shared in newsletters and


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