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Michigan; The Role of Community Planning in Riparian Corridor Protection - Oakland County

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Michigan; The Role of Community Planning in Riparian Corridor Protection - Oakland County
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   Any river is really the summation of the whole valley. To think of it as nothing but is to ignore the greater part. Hal Borland The Role of Community Planning in Riparian Corridor Protection Chapter 6 Includes: ã Planning Policy Toolsã Master Plansã Regulatory Measuresã Resource Protection Overlay Zonesã Natural Features Setback Standards:Buffer Width Optionsã Site Design & Review Standardsã Pre-Application Conference: Setting theStage for Developmentã A Model Site Plan Review Processfor Water and Natural ResourceProtectionã Map of Existing Resources & SiteAnalysisã Design Measures for Riparian Corridor Protectionã Southeast Michigan Model Ordinancesfor Riparian Resource Protectionã Riparian Corridor Problems andProtection Measuresã Non-Regulatory Options for ProtectingRiparian Corridorsã General Guide to Waterfront Lawsã Summary  70 Riparian corridors represent a naturalresource that offers communities anopportunity to balance the need for growthwith environmental preservation. Localgovernments that plan for the establishmentof riparian corridors as community assets can create many benets for their community. Using innovative site design standards,developers can preserve natural areas andriparian corridors as integral components of a development. These natural features can then be used to market quality of life benets such as access to open space, and scenicviews, to prospective residents. The result isoften a win-win situation for the environment,the developer, and the community as awhole. In addition, preserving ripariancorridors contributes to the health, safety,and welfare of residents of the community.  The Role of Community Planning in Riparian Corridor Protection Prior to addressing riparian corridor protection in local plans and ordinances,the community’s riparian corridors shouldbe inventoried and mapped (See Chapter 3 for more information on mapping ripariancorridors). Inventory and map data shouldthen form the basis for subsequent plans,policies, and ordinances designed to protectriparian corridors at the local level. Makingriparian inventory and map data available tocommunity members early in the process willclarify the location of riparian corridors, andallow property owners who may be affectedby riparian regulations to understand howthey may be impacted. Such efforts mayassist community leaders in building publicsupport for riparian corridor protection. Inaddition, mapped inventories of riparianresources may help communities understandhow river corridors transcend communityboundaries and make the case for a multi-community approach to protecting ripariancorridors on a watershed basis.The conservation and management of  riparian corridors can benet from proactive community planning, sensible regulatorymeasures, and appropriate developmentdesign standards. In Michigan, localgovernments play a major role in ripariancorridor management. Community homerule means that the major responsibilitiesand choices for implementation of riparianprotection and restoration initiatives rest atthe local level.Tools such as local master plans, zoningordinances, and subdivision regulationscan be used to address conservation andmanagement needs of riparian corridors, as well as guide sustainable and protable development within communities. Non-regulatory tools such as public educationand innovative land preservation approachesmay also be used by communities to protectand restore local riparian areas. Planning Policy Tools Maximizingcommunityassets relatedto river corridorsrequires goodcommunityplanning.Rouge Workgroup (Photo Credit: Fred Cowles) Friends of the Rouge Fall Bug Hunt Volunteers  71 Master Plans The Master Plan is the ofcial document that sets forth policies to guide future landuse and development in the community. Itprovides the legal basis for zoning and landuse decisions. A community’s master plancan be used to establish both the basisfor preservation of riparian corridors and  justication for related ordinances. Communities interested in protectingriparian resources should include goals,policies, and objectives for protectingriparian buffers and corridors in their Master Plan. Riparian corridor protection provisionsmay also be listed in the Master Plan’simplementation chapter. Master Plansshould also include an inventory and map of riparian corridors and associated resources identied throughout the community. The riparian corridor map may be presented as astand-alone piece with descriptive text or asa component of the Future Land Use map. Oakland TownshipGreen InfrastructureDesign Charrette Example Goals for Community Master Plans  Adapted from: Wetland Stewardship for Local Governments: Master Plan as a Basis.Clinton River Watershed Council  Goal: To the maximum extent possible, preserve existing riparian corridors and thehydrological systems that they support so that these ecosystems can continueto perform their vital functions of providing terrestrial and aquatic habitat for  plants and wildlife, ood and stormwater storage, runoff attenuation, water quality protection, shoreline and stream bank stabilization, aesthetics, andrecreation. Goal: Enhance and restore existing riparian corridors that have suffered degradation. Goal: Recognize the natural capacity and limitation of riparian lands to supportdevelopment. Policies pertinent to riparian preservation should address: Land Use Intensity: The intensity of development on the land is dependent on thenatural capability of the land to support various degrees of development. Natural Resource Capability: All development respects the natural characteristicsof riparian corridors and their constraints. Site Design Policies: These policies provide model development principles that canbe applied to site designs to reduce the impact of development on riparianareas. Presentation on the Cold Water Springs Nature AreaMaster Plan during Johnson Creek Day in 2005. (Photo Credit: Johnson Creek Protection Group)  72 Park and Recreation Plans  Adapted From: The Town Planner’s Toolbox.From: Guidance for Communities in the Connecticut River Watershed. Suggested Allowable Uses for Riparian Corridors Encourage park and recreation areas with minimal structural development; non-motorized trails; forestry practices that use riparian best management practices (BMPs).Encourage passive use of land for recreation and nature appreciation. Maintain wetlands, ood plains, seeps, and bogs in their natural condition. Suggested Prohibited Uses for Riparian Corridors All uses that present a higher potential for pollution. Campgrounds other thandispersed forested tenting sites should be excluded because of their tendency towarddeforestation and soil compaction. Towns may wish to guide use of ATVs and mountainbiking to less sensitive locations since these higher impact uses can contribute tovegetation loss and erosion within the riparian zone. Buildings that do not depend onproximity to water should be sited outside a riparian buffer.Park and Recreation Plans can adopt thegoals, policies, and objectives for riparianprotection that are listed in the communitymaster plan, or include its own park andrecreation-specific recommendations for riparian corridor management. Contentmay focus on defining appropriate andinappropriate recreational uses for riparianareas located within parks. Park andRecreation Plans may also provide guidelinesfor proper construction and maintenance of river access points, and rules and regulationsfor public access as these topics relate topotential impacts on riparian buffers. Park and Recreation Plans   Use Allowed Denied Footpaths608UtilityLineCrossings525WaterDependentUses4510BikePaths3015StormwaterBMPs2810HomeAdditions/Decks/Gazebos1055MaintenanceforFloodControlOftenAllowedPumphousesRestrictedSewageTreatmentPlantsRestrictedGolfCoursesRestrictedCampgroundRestrictedTimberHarvestingRestrictedHydropowerRestrictedRoads/BridgesRestricted AthleticFieldsRestrictedPlaygroundEquipmentRestrictedCompost/YardWasteUnrestrictedLandscapingUnrestrictedNoUsesPermitted(30%)NoUsesDenied(15%) ***Percentages of buffer programs that specically allow or  denyagivenuse.The“Restricted”and“Unrestricted”entriesrefertootherstreambufferusesthatarenotcommonlyaddressedinlocalordinances.***(Source:Heraty,1993) Allowable & Unallowable Usesin the Stream Buffer Zone Early morning nature walk along Johnson Creek. (Photo Credit: Michael Carr) Buffer Area in Fireghter’s Park in Troy, MI. (Photo Credit: SEMCOG)    R  e  p  r   i  n   t  e   d  w   i   t   h  p  e  r  m   i  s  s   i  o  n   f  r  o  m    “   S   i   t  e   P   l  a  n  n   i  n  g   f  o  r   U  r   b  a  n   S   t  r  e  a  m    P  r  o   t  e  c   t   i  o  n   ”   (   S  c   h  u  e   l  e  r ,   1   9   9   5   )
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