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The work on the new comprehensive plan has begun and I attended three meetings in this week. On Monday evening there was a Steering Committee meeting with Houseal Lavigne where we were given information regarding doing small group outreach. This was for the Steering Committee to make presentations to groups that are unable to attend the regular community meetings or groups that have special interest. I honestly do not know how effective this will be since everyone on the Steering Committee is already active in the community as well as their individual businesses but it was an interesting exercise. I told the Town Manager, Dave Schoeff, that I would be willing to help with one of these, if approached, but I do see that I would go out looking for groups to give presentations.
In conjunction with and immediately following that meeting was the first community meeting. While participation was less than stellar (only about 25 people were in attendance) there were some consistent themes that came out of the meeting. It did not take long for affordable housing to bubble to the top. Unfortunately affordable housing is a hard one for people to get their arms around and everyone’s definition seems to be somewhat different. Probably the second most discussed issue which was touched on several times was “identity” of Culver, i.e. are we or do we want to be a resort community. (More on that later.)
The Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver (AHS) bought lunch for me and a few other Culver citizens on Tuesday to solicit our opinions. They should know how opinionated I am by now… Lunch was appreciated, but not necessary!
AHS is floating the idea that Culver needs a Visitor’s Center and that this would be a good combination with a new History Museum. An opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I heard most of this presentation once before at the Culver Chamber of Commerce meeting in February. Both times I had to agree that a visitor’s center would be nice, but wondered if our tourist season is long enough to justify it.
We are finishing up a kitchen renovation for a residence on Lake Maxinkuckee. The old kitchen was top of the line when the home was built, but it was looking dated and did not function the way a modern kitchen would. It lacked a working “kitchen triangle”, and it had a wall and galley door closing it off from the dining room. While there was a window over the sink looking west, the dining room had two walls of windows looking west and north.
We obtained options from two kitchen cabinet providers for new cabinets and countertops each suggesting different concepts. The one we chose included removing the door and cutting the wall between the kitchen and dining room to provide a bar top counter. This opened up the kitchen to a tremendous effect. There was an existing marble buffet shelf/sideboard in the dining room on the adjoining wall that we were able to re-purpose as a breakfast bar top. This provided some continuity for the owners and salvaged a unique piece that would have cost hundreds of dollars to duplicate. (Green that saves Green.) We were also fortunate that the wall between the kitchen and dining room was not load bearing, so we were able to remove it with little difficulty.
The original kitchen included a wrap around counter that served as a breakfast table, but its location was between the refrigerator and the sink and stove breaking up the workspace. When someone sat at the table, their chair conflicted with the galley door. This made for an intimate kitchen setting for a couple to have breakfast, but made for a difficult situation when the house was full on a summer weekend.
Aside from pulling the refrigerator back into the workspace, little was done to change the cabinet layout. Existing metal cabinets were replaced with wood cabinets with a finish that complimented the wood floors in the dining room, again pulling the two rooms together. Plastic laminate tops were used as an economical solution, but decorative edges were included to enhance the design.
The original kitchen had white cabinets on white walls. This helped brighten the space and gave it a clean look. The new kitchen is more of an extension of the dining room, so green tones were used in the countertops, walls and tile along with extending the wall color out into the dining room as an accent wall. These colors were chosen to play off the salvaged buffet shelf. These colors along with the wood tones of the cabinets helps to pull the two rooms together. Mike Fox of Talk to Tucker in Indianapolis has been helping us with color schemes and has done a great job of pulling things together.
I shared some of my rants regarding the changes to the zoning boundary with Jeff Kenney of the Culver Citizen and he suggested that I send him a letter to the editor on the subject. I am a little freer with my writing here in the blog since I know my audience is different, so I wrote a separate Letter to the Editor and cleaned up my prose a bit. Hopefully it will encourage people to get involved and do some of the research themselves. My earlier piece included all of the links and drawings, so I’ve made it easy for anyone to follow my research. What do you think?
PS – If anyone can tell me why I lose my paragraph breaks on text I cut & paste into a post, let me know! Drives me nuts! It looks right in the editor and then loses the spaces between paragraphs when it posts… I guess I’ll go old-school and add indents…
I went home pretty frustrated last night. I had shared my previous post on the Two Mile Zoning Boundary with the Town Council and Plan Commission last week. I am also on the Steering Committee for the Plymouth Comprehensive Plan review and attended that meeting Monday evening. (6:00 until 9:45! Sheesh!) The topic of the Two Mile Zoning Boundary came up and there was a lively discussion. Yesterday I sent the following email to the Town Council and Plan Commission ahead of the Plan Commission meeting last night:
All,I attended last night’s Plymouth Comprehensive Plan review on behalf of MCEDC. One of the items that Jackie Turner with Ratio Architects had in the draft plan was ceding some extra territorial control back to the County. I questioned why this would ever be considered as the extended territorial control was there to allow the municipality to control its destiny. She replied that if Plymouth was looking at the plan as a 10 year document, then they might want to divest themselves of the burden of supervising areas that weren’t planned for annexation in the next 10 years. I asked why a municipality would EVER want to cede control to the county and shouldn’t our vision be for 50 years, not just 10? I then asked about problems with residential development surrounding industrial areas making expansion difficult, the problem with subdivisions just outside the territorial boundary which used services, but did not pay for them (fire, police, parks, etc.) and and the difficulties of leapfrogging areas that had been developed that resisted annexation to serve new development or other older developments that needed services. This started a rather spirited response from Plymouth departmental staff naming specific instances where this is already a problem.Ms. Turner agreed with my points for the most part, saying she was just giving that as an option to be considered as part of the comprehensive planning process. She said there still may be areas of no growth where Plymouth might want to consider this, but all the points I made need to be considered before making that decision.I’m paraphrasing the discussion above, but I double checked it with Brent Martin who was also in attendance. Ralph Booker was there also. One of the big points I think Culver should take from this is that determining the extended territorial boundary is a discussion that should be had as part of the Comprehensive Planning process. There is no reason that we can’t put this off until our planning process is complete.Kevin