Niles Master Plan to seek initial approval

NILES – At Monday evening’s Niles City Council meeting, council members will vote on whether to approve or reject the City of Niles Master Plan. If approved, it will allow the current, proposed version be viewed by the public, where they can give feedback and their own recommendations before it is adopted.

According to Planning Commission Chair Rodrigo Correa, the number one priority with the city’s master plan is to define what the city should look and feel like 10 years from now.

If approved, the draft of the Niles City Plan will be available to view on the Niles city website, at the Niles District Library and at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

While the planning commission’s job is not to approve specific businesses, but rather to ensure the builders and owners are working within codes, Correa said the master plan’s input period is a time when residents can voice what they would like to see more or less of in their community.

“We can go on record elevating the concerns of constituents,” Correa said. “It’s really up to people to speak to their city ward representatives.”

In the case of the Niles Master Plan, if it is approved, there will be a public comment period including public hearings scheduled. Information will be sent out through utility bills,  the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, the city website, Mayor Nick Shelton’s Facebook page as well as radio spots and public notices placed in newspapers to reach community members who would like to view the documents and weigh in with the planning commission.

“[We will] send copies to contiguous local governments, Berrien County and the Berrien County Planning Commission, the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission to get their reviews,” Correa said. “We try to create harmony between municipalities.”

Categories within the master plan, according to the Niles City website, include: transportation and street design, public services and facilities, parks and recreation, natural resources, historic and cultural resources, neighborhood and housing, economic development and land use and zoning.

Features in the Niles community, including the “urban forest,” where trees are intentionally placed throughout the neighborhoods and downtown, are an example of just one of the many things noted in the master plan.

Correa said the plan has the power to “augment our people.” Public health is a factor to many decisions within the plan.

The last update to the master plan was made in 2013.

“We want to help make our city more health and more productive,” Correa said.

The Niles City Council meeting will be hosted virtually on Zoom at 6 p.m. on Monday. The link to join is available on the Niles city website.

Cass County

Cass County votes to engage Kalamazoo studio for Cass County Historic Courthouse services

Berrien County

Buchanan graduate now Berrien County prosecuting attorney

Cass County

Cass County Veterans Affairs Office welcomes new leadership

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg Chamber of Commerce hosting monthly giveaways

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 770,822 cases, 16,731 deaths

Dowagiac

No danger found following lockdown at DUHS

News

Berrien County Public Defender’s Office to increase staff

Berrien County

Buchanan man named 911 Telecommunicator of the Year

Dowagiac

Dowagiac man arrested for possession of meth

Education

Niles teacher accused of assault pleads not guilty

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: April 7-13

Berrien County

LMC to host virtual career, program expo for prospective students

Dowagiac

Dowagiac woman to compete in ‘Jeopardy!’ 2021 Tournament of Champions

Business

Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce hosts ribbon-tying ceremonies for two new businesses

Dowagiac

Four arrested in Dowagiac drug search

Berrien County

Niles city, DART consider south county expansion

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 764,519 cases, 16,619 deaths

Cass County

Cass County Fair Food Drive-Thru event returns April 23-25

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac purchases former Lincoln School for redevelopment, blight removal

Business

Apple Festival Spring Market prepares for May event

DEVELOPING NEWS

UPDATE: Police respond to bomb threat at Edwardsburg factory

Business

Eat Drink Niles to revitalize Third Thursdays

Dowagiac

Decatur resident injured in Wayne Township crash

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 756,564 cases, 16,586 deaths