Tourist mecca Grand Traverse Co. nixes planning group

Associated Press

Traverse City – A Michigan county that’s a popular tourist destination is losing its planning commission after local officials decided the group wasn’t needed.

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners voted recently to abolish the county’s planning commission as of Nov. 1. The move follows the board’s study of what county planning services were needed, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported .

Commissioner Sonny Wheelock Jr. said representatives from the dozen area governments didn’t support maintaining the commission.

“There was expressed need for someone to help us spearhead community development – whether that be economic or housing or whatever,” he said.

Grand Traverse County, including Traverse City, is a popular destination for tourists in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula.

Planning Commission member Jeff Cockfield said he’s disappointed by the county’s decision.

“I think a county of our population not having an active Planning Commission doesn’t serve the community,” he said.

Commissioner Tom Mair cast the lone vote against dissolving the planning commission, saying he felt it was a premature decision. He proposed renaming the group and shifting its focus to community development.

Commissioner Ron Clous, who’s also a member of the planning commission, said the panel last met about six months ago.

And Commissioner Cheryl Gore Follette said she believes the county has functioned “real well” without the commission.

“Generally, the townships and entities that we partner with are not feeling the loss of the county planning department,” she said.

Mair said he believes the group hasn’t been meeting because it’s been lacking a director.