Updated Township Master Plan

Asked January 13, 2020, 8:51 PM EST

I'm with the Sherwood Township on their Planning Commission. We're trying to FIND our Master Plan.....and it is my understanding that the MP has to be updated every five years........I'm sure we are lacking. What information can you provide to HELP us?

Branch County Michigan

4 Responses

Hello Sherwood Township,

Thanks for reaching out to MSU extension. You are not alone in your predicament! Congratulations to you for trying to tackle the issue. And yes, a master plan should be updated every five years.

There are several good articles about master planning published by MSU extension of that might be helpful in determining a place to start in your journey of writing a master plan. These titles include links to the articles—which also contain links to further resources.

What materials should I consult to develop a Master Plan for our municipality?

To plan or not to plan? Minimum contents of a master plan

Most local governments need to update their Master Plan

Based on your question, it sounds like the township will need to develop a new master plan. If you cannot find the township’s master plan, it is likely so out of date that it is no longer relevant. I would suggest that you reach out to South Central Michigan planning council, Branch County’s regional planning agency to see if they can help the township with a master plan or to just learn more about the current county or regional planning efforts. For example, sometimes there are regional trail systems that are in the works or large-scale watershed projects that are in a regional or county master plan—these larger efforts should be incorporated into the township master plan if applicable.

In some cases, townships adopt the county master plan. It does not appear that Branch county has an updated master plan. I’m seeing on their website that they have a draft master plan that was adopted in April of 2011 but no further updates..

We have a new land use educator working in your region. Feel free to reach out to Tyler (augsttyl@msu.edu) next week with more questions as you move on in your journey.


Thank you Mary for this response. I DID locate our OLD MP. The Chair of the PC directed the members to just READ the plan, and then come back to our next meeting in March 10th at 7:30 p.m. at the Sherwood Township Hall and 'discuss' the MP. It is in my opinion that to the untrained eye, we have NO (or at least I don't) idea of what should even be in an updated plan. I am confident our plan met the criteria when it was adopted In APRIL 1997. My focus, with the wind turbine embroilment within out township, is to enfold an ENERGY Plan into the MP to reflect how residents/business can perform energy-saving techniques and incorporate upgraded technology, wise land use - not only for turbines, but for solar, and to seek ways of upgrading our hydroelectric dam (a mere $7 million would provide another turbine, and lower the other two in order to increase efficiency). I don't know where to go from here as I don't want to intrude upon the Chair or council's role/authority, but we NEED to get moving on this expeditiously!!!

I was just looking at the Huron County Master Plan the other day- they have some fairly detailed sections on wind, solar, and other renewables in their Master Plan. This plan really goes above and beyond in terms of defining future policy for renewable energy. They used a survey tool to help with public input. In addition to the articles I sent earlier about what needs to be in a Master Plan-- check out Huron County's draft plan here:

Thanks for your time and assistance!!! I'm looking over the Huron County's plan....it's kind of vague - obviously on purpose to allow PC's to recommend specific ordinances, and, Huron County has been 'infected' by DTE, so there's that contamination to filter out. However, it does have value because of its recent updating!! Thank you for the web site! I'm looking specifically for township/county ordinances that would include a hydroelectric dam...which we have in Sherwood township that's owned/operated by the village of Union City which is in Union Township....kind of a strange arrangement, but it is what it is.

Thanks again Mary,