Professional Planning Services
Local units of government established the Region 2 Planning Commission to assist in:
- Promoting and achieving intergovernmental cooperation and coordination;
- Providing information to levels of government that is both useful and understandable;
- Developing and maintaining plans that include goals, policies, objectives, alternatives, and recommendations for growth and development; and
- Assisting local governments in achieving their objectives.
In response to these mandates, the R2PC provides the following professional planning services for and on behalf of its members.
Community Planning Assistance
R2PC staff assists its members with their planning efforts, which include the drafting of master plans and other specialized plans (e.g., recreation, economic development, service consolidation, etc.). Planners also assist local governments with the development and amendment of zoning ordinances (e.g., text and map) and other tools needed to implement those plans. Finally, staff can also provide grant assistance so that funding can be secured for specific projects proposed in various plans.
Region 2 recently completed and adopted a CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) plan. The R2PC is also working towards the establishment of the three-county area as an Economic Development District (EDD). The plan and EDD designation will aid local governments in obtaining US Economic Development Agency (EDA) grants and should bring additional federal funding into the region for economic development.
The R2PC serves as the state-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Jackson Metropolitan Area, which covers the entire County of Jackson. R2PC staff also coordinate the rural task force, which covers the entire three-county region. Finally, R2PC planners staff Jackson County’s Traffic Safety Program.
- Jackson Area Comprehensive Transportation Study. JACTS committees advise the R2PC board (in its role as the Jackson MPO) on the allocation of all federal and state transportation funds to local Act 51 agencies (e.g., cities, villages, road commissions, and transit agencies) for road, transit, and other transportation projects in the county. Projects sponsored by MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) must also be approved by the R2PC Board. R2PC planners coordinate with MDOT and staff the JACTS committees.
- Region 2 Rural Task Force. The Rural Task Force advises MDOT on the allocation of rural federal and state transportation funds to local Act 51 agencies for road, transit, and other transportation projects in the rural portions of the three-county region,. Those projects located in rural Jackson County must also be approved by the MPO. R2PC planners staff the Rural Task Force and coordinate with MDOT.
- Asset management data collection. MDOT collects pavement ratings on all federal-aid-eligible roads across the state on a biennial (2-year) basis. R2PC staff works with representatives from MDOT, the three road commissions, and cities and villages to collect the data. Those organizations then use the data to make maintenance decisions about their roadways.
- Jackson Traffic Safety Program. JTSP grants are awarded to local agencies for traffic safety programs in Jackson County. The program is funded by a traffic ticket fee through the 12th District Court. R2PC planners staff the JTSP.
Other R2PC Services
Much of the information gathered by Region 2 staff for various purposes provide valuable inputs into other plans and implementation tools. For example, as a U.S. Census Bureau affiliate, the R2PC accesses, compiles, and disseminates demographic information. The demographics then provide the basis for community profiles developed for many local and regional plans. Easy access to that information is also useful for grant applications. The R2PC is also certified as the project review agency for the three-county area for grants which would result in federally-funded projects in the three-county area, if awarded.
Active participation in Region 2 keeps local officials up-to-date on new state and federal regulations as well as new and/or changing development issues which may need local regulation. For example, Michigan passed new enabling legislation for planning and zoning in the first decade of the 21st Century, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act created new land uses in 2008 requiring local regulation, and demographics from the 2010 Census started to become available during 2011. Staff made member governments aware of those issues via presentations during monthly R2PC meetings, the ‘R2PC Announcements and Blogs’ section on the homepage of this website, special mailings, and other venues when requested. Staff also continues to assist local governments to adapt to these new circumstances.