One local township is reviewing its master plan to see whether or not it needs to be opened up and reworked.

The Putnam Township Planning Commission met Wednesday night to discuss the subject. The document, which serves as a road map for how the township wants to guide future development, is due up for its mandatory 5-year review. The biggest discussion topic of the evening was how the commissioners were going to address the large number of non-conforming lots in the township. According to a 2016 study, 45% of parcels are non-conforming, with the highest concentration in residential 3-acre zones, and rural residential 10-acre zones.

While there is no magic number for what a township needs to be at percentage-wise, it was the opinion of their Planning Consultant that 45% was too high. One of the most frequently occurring inconveniences placed upon owners of non-conforming lots is that of tougher restrictions on setbacks. Chairman Jeff Lomber told WHMI about one of the easier methods for helping residents on these lots is to change the minimum area in the zones to help more become conforming. He stated that its not always the best move, but it is a consideration.

Commissioners Jean Ligon and Norm Klein liked the idea of taking a closer look at existing setback requirements as another method of helping residents out without needing to open the plan. The commissioners were given a survey at the end of the meeting with many questions meant to guide them to a decision on whether or not the master plan needed to be opened up or if they could effectively work at this problem without doing so. They will discuss their findings at next month’s meeting. (MK)