To: Kalamazoo City Planning
Environmental Protection Zoning for Kalamazoo
I’m writing in support of the following addition to Kalamazoo's Chapter 50: Zoning Ordinance:
ESTABLISH ONE OR MORE DISTRICTS, EXPLICITLY DESIGNED TO PROTECT KALAMAZOO GREEN SPACES AND ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS.
What’s prompting this proposal?
During a recent City Planning meeting at Kalamazoo City Hall (6/29), there was community input regarding the establishment of a new district for the purpose of preserving green/open spaces and other ecologically sensitive areas. This issue was raised because the current zoning draft proposes a zoning change to the Oakwood Memorial Beach Park near Oakland Dr. and Parkview Ave. Currently split-zoned (Residential and Commercial), City Planning is proposing that it be zoned solely Residential. When asked why this park wouldn’t be zoned something that would better represent its green space characteristics, Kalamazoo City Planning stated that no such district exists in Kalamazoo. City Planning then acknowledged that some cities do however have dedicated green space/conservation districts, which would be worth considering for Kalamazoo. It's also worth noting that this zoning district proposal is distinct from Kalamazoo's Natural Features Protection overlay, which is merely a guideline for development.
With that in mind, I am proposing that Kalamazoo add one or more zoning districts that could be applied to this park, as well as many other parcels that would benefit from Kalamazoo’s dedication to environmental protections, best represented by Kalamazoo’s own Community Sustainability Plan ("CSP"). At every community meeting, the community continues to emphasize environmental protections as one of their top concerns–the addition of one or more districts that explicitly protects the environment and prohibits development would honor Imagine Kalamazoo’s Public Participation Policy.
I invite Kalamazoo City Planning to explore the following examples from other cities that are more proactive in this regard:
Michigan Lakes and Streams Association (Examples in Michigan)
Dane County, WI
• Natural Resource and Recreation District
Walworth County, WI
• Lowland Resource Conservation District
• Upland Resource Conservation District
• Shoreland Wetland District
• Recreational Park District
• Institutional Park District
Washington County, MD
https://www.washco-md.net/wp-content/uploads/legal-ZoningOrd.pdf (pgs. 43-47)
• Environmental Conservation District
• Preservation District
Thank you for considering this proposal that would honor both your commitment to Imagine Kalamazoo’s Public Participation Policy and the Community Sustainability Plan.
Why is this important?
This petition is for you if you live in Kalamazoo and like parks, trees, trails, clean air/water, frogs, fish, birds, native plants, and crazy interesting bugs that you might find under a big rock.
How it will be delivered
This petition will be delivered to future City Planning Meetings that address zoning issues in Kalamazoo. This is a transparent process, so it's important that signature names be available to anyone that's interested in the integrity of the petition results.