Comprehensive Plan

A comprehensive plan is a long-range plan used to guide the growth and development of a community or region. A comprehensive plan establishes the basis for determining what types and densities of development are appropriate in what areas of the community, including where new development should occur and where resources should be directed to revitalize already developed areas. The plan also helps to determine what streets, water and sewer lines and other public facilities are needed to support the proposed future pattern of land use and what important environmental and cultural resources should be protected.

Battle Creek's last Comprehensive Plan was prepared in 1966, and the most recent future land use plan for the former Battle Creek Township was prepared in 1981. Although the City has been continuously involved in planning, the community’s collective vision for the future has not been comprehensively re-evaluated for a long time. Therefore, the entire City of Battle Creek (including the township area which merged with the City in 1983) is addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.

Process
Vision Statement
Goals
Socio-Economic Trends
Existing Land Use
Future Land Use
Future Infrastructure
Contact

TopProcess

A team of professional planning consultants worked with city staff, a 37-member Advisory Committee, the Planning Commission and the citizens of Battle Creek over an 18-month period to formulate a consensus-based vision for the future and to define needed policies and implementation tools.

First, a series of "futuring" meetings was held to allow the citizens of Battle Creek to play an active role in defining a preferred future for the city. The input received in these "futuring" sessions became the basis for identifying the priority issues to be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan and for developing a series of goals and objectives to guide its preparation.

Next, three alternative land use futures were prepared — one based on existing zoning patterns (Zoning-based Future) one on market trends (Trends-based Future), and one based on the vision defined in the "futuring" sessions (Vision-based Future). These alternatives illustrated what the community might look like, and provided statistical profiles of future land use, population and jobs. This allowed citizens to evaluate the implications of various choices and to select an alternative, or combination of alternatives, that best represented the development pattern they would like to see in Battle Creek several generations from now. The public input overwhelmingly supported the Vision-based Future. (For a complete description of the alternatives phase refer to the Comprehensive Plan Technical Report which can be accessed at the Planning and Community Development Department in City Hall.)

With this public consensus, the city staff, Planning Commissioners and the Advisory Committee worked with the consultant team to develop the policies to implement the Vision-based Future. Subsequently, the Vision-based Future was translated into a land use plan to the year 2020, and adopted by the Planning Commission in October of 1997.

This Web Plan summarizes the major goals, demographic trends and land use recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan. A full Technical Report containing all background information, goals, objectives, policies and land use recommendations is available at the Planning and Community Development Department at Battle Creek’s City Hall.

 

TopVision Statement

Introduction
The vision statement describes Battle Creek as current residents would like it to be in the year 2020. The vision statement is based on citizen input and a survey of local leaders, and was reviewed and approved by citizens, the Advisory Committee, and the Planning Commission. The vision statement served as the basis for developing the goals, objectives and policies, and plan recommendations. For a complete description of the Vision Statement, objectives, and policies, refer to the Comprehensive Plan Technical Report, available at Planning and Community Development Department in City Hall.

Twenty First Century
The City of Battle Creek has moved into the 21st century as one of the most desirable places to live, learn, work and play within Michigan. Residents and businesses in Battle Creek enjoy a rich quality of life and are reaping the benefits of commitments made years ago. Alluring characteristics that initially attracted residents to Battle Creek have not only been maintained over time, but enhanced. These include high quality schools, Binder Park Zoo, festivals, the linear park, the Leila Arboretum, well maintained neighborhoods, attractive commercial districts and the small city feel in a large city. While the City continues to recognize and celebrate its different and distinct neighborhoods, Battle Creek residents, businesses and neighborhoods have achieved a united identity and image. The land and people that make up Battle Creek function physically, socially and economically as one city. This unity has greatly strengthened the City’s ability to meet the challenges of change and for everyone to benefit from its successes.

 

TopGoals

1.  Economy

  • Battle Creek has a sustainable, growing and diversified economy, providing full employment at sufficient wages to support a family.
  • Battle Creek has a skilled work force large enough to help attract new economic development.

2.  Land Use

  • Battle Creek manages growth to prevent sprawl at the edge of the City’s developed areas, to promote new development at urban densities and to encourage reinvestment in older areas of the City.

3.   Downtown

  • Battle Creek’s downtown has competitive advantages as an office, financial and retail center and as the metropolitan area’s major focus for cultural, entertainment and civic celebrations.
  • Downtown Battle Creek has a significant residential population and serves as an activity center for surrounding neighborhoods.

4.  Industrial Development

Battle Creek has an ample supply of competitively located and appropriately sized industrial sites

5.  Commercial Development

  • Battle Creek has clearly defined nodes of commercial activity, appropriately distributed and scaled to serve regional, community and neighborhood needs.
  • Battle Creek’s existing commercial corridors, such as Beckley Road and Columbia, West Michigan and Capital Avenues, continue to serve as viable business and office locations.

6.  Residential Development and Neighborhoods

  • Battle Creek has revitalized neighborhoods providing a range of housing choices with rising property values in a safe and attractive environment.
  • Battle Creek’s newly developed neighborhoods expand the range of lifestyle choices within the City.
  • All of Battle Creek’s neighborhoods are free of violence, have a reduced incidence of crime and are empowered to advocate for and help meet the needs of their residents.

7.  Environment

  • Battle Creek protects its important natural resources and environmentally sensitive areas including groundwater, wetlands, rivers, lakes, floodplains, the natural drainage network, woodlands and wildlife and, where feasible, incorporates them as part of an integrated greenway system.

8.  Open Space, Parks and Recreation

  • Battle Creek offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor recreational, cultural and environmental educational opportunities in proximity to all residents of the City.
  • Battle Creek’s linear park (greenway) system links recreational facilities and natural resource protection areas to create a distinctive open space structure for the community and a unique recreational resource for its residents.

9.  Infrastructure

Capital Improvements

  • Battle Creek updates its capital improvement program (CIP) annually.

Transportation

  • Battle Creek continually maintains and upgrades its roadway infrastructure to provide safe, convenient access and to complement balanced, orderly growth.
  • Battle Creek provides local travel alternatives to automobile use including bikes, walking and transit.
  • Battle Creek has excellent rail service with minimum rail/street conflicts.
  • Battle Creek has maintained and enhanced the W. K. Kellogg Airport.

Utilities

  • The City’s sewer and water systems are upgraded and extended to support balanced, orderly growth.

10.  Public Services

  • Battle Creek provides high quality, rapid response, cost effective and appreciated public safety services.
  • The City has preserved its ability to satisfy long-term solid waste needs.
  • Battle Creek provides high quality, affordable health care to all citizens.
  • Battle Creek has a wide range of public and private educational opportunities and students who meet or exceed State standards of excellence.

11.  Health

  • Battle Creek provides high quality, affordable health care to all citizens.

12.  Education

  • Battle Creek has a wide range of public and private educational opportunities and students who meet or exceed State standards of excellence.

13.  Visual Character

  • Battle Creek is a beautiful and well maintained city.
  • Distinct visual characters are maintained in Battle Creek’s urban, suburban and rural areas.
  • All new development and redevelopment is visually attractive.

14.  Citizen Attitudes/Opportunities

  • Battle Creek is a diverse community showing respect for racial, cultural, religious and individual differences and providing equal opportunity and access to services.
  • Battle Creek benefits from the cooperation and contributions of all groups within the community.

15.  Intergovernmental Cooperation

  • Battle Creek cooperates with surrounding communities to achieve mutual benefit in the provision of services, in interjurisdictional planning and in the coordination of development regulations.

16.  Balancing Conflicting Policies

  • Battle Creek preserves the integrity of long-term strategies for growth and redevelopment by following its Comprehensive Plan policies.

 

TopSocio-Economic Trends

Demographic Trends

Population Change During The Twentieth Century

Battle Creek experienced rapid population growth in the first half of the twentieth century, but population declined after 1950, when the combined population of the City and Battle Creek Township reached a peak of 63,771. The City’s population declined by 20% between 1950 and 1970, with the City’s population drop outpacing the township’s population rise during that period. Following the merger of Battle Creek Township with the City in 1983, the combined population still continued to drop, to 53,540 in 1990.

Much of the change in the City’s population since 1950 can be attributed to persons migrating from the City into the ring of surrounding townships. Between 1950 and 1970, the City lost nearly 10,000 persons, while the surrounding townships gained about the same number.

Population of Battle Creek and Surrounding
Communities 1930-1990
  Population
Community 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
Battle Creek City 45,573 43,453 48,666 44,169 38,931 35,724 53,514
Battle Creek Twp. 6,334 7,844 15,105 19,010 21,782 20,615 0*
Bedford Twp.  2,867 4,219 9,213 10,486 10,817 10,157 9,810
Emmet Twp.    3,592 4,995 7,362 9,087 10,881 11,155 10,764
Pennfield Twp.  2,380 3,326 4,144 6,626 8,290 8,743 8,386
Springfield City  1,000 2,000 3,000 4,605 3,994 5,917 5,582
Source: US Census Bureau
*Battle Creek Township incorporated into the City of Battle Creek

Neighborhood Population Distribution
Within the city, the highest concentrations of people live in the neighborhoods of Fremont/McKinley/Verona and Minges Brook/Riverside. Together these neighborhoods account for about 35% of the city’s population. The next three highest populated neighborhoods are Wilson/Coburn/Roosevelt/Territorial, Westlake/Prairieview and North Central, which account for almost another 40% of the city’s population.

Population by Neighborhood
City of Battle Creek 1990
Neighborhood 1990 Percent of
Total 1990
Wilson Coburn Roosevelt Territorial (Central) 6,396 11.9
Fremont/Verona/McKinley 9,638 18
Minges/Riverside 9,010 16.8
Post/Franklin 5,963 11.1
Rural Southwest  3,592 6.7
Urbandale 5,248 9.8
North Central (Washington Heights) 6,216 11.6
Westlake/Prairieview 7,395 13.8
Source: City of Battle Creek 1995 Consolidated Plan for Housing and  Community Development

Smaller Household Size
While the population of Battle Creek has declined, there has been no net decline in the number of households. Between 1980 and 1990, the number of persons per household declined from 2.53 to 2.5, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and from 2.6 to 2.4 according to the City of Battle Creek Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development. Families made up 46% of households, while persons living alone made-up 21%, and non-families 24%.

Battle Creek’s Aging Population
An increasingly large proportion of the Battle Creek population is 65 years old or older. Fifteen percent of the Battle Creek population was 65 years of age or older in 1990, compared to 12.6% in 1980. The average for Calhoun County was 14% in 1990 and 11% in 1980.

Population by Age in Battle Creek, Calhoun County
and Michigan 1980-1990
Community <5 5-17 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75>
Battle Creek 4,373 10,231 4,907 8,883 7,926 4,960 4,516 4,214 3,504
% in Battle Creek 8% 19% 9% 17% 15% 9% 8% 8% 7%
% in County 7% 19% 10% 15% 15% 10% 9% 8% 6%
% in State    7.6% 18.9% 10.8% 16.9% 15.1% 10.2% 8.5% 7.1% 4.9%
Source: US Census Bureau

Education
The educational attainment of Battle Creek’s population has been as high as the rest of Calhoun County and the state. In 1990, 78.6% of Battle Creek residents were high school graduates. Twenty-three percent of residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher college education.

Minority Population
The minority population in Battle Creek increased between 1980 and 1990. While the percentage of increase was high for some minority populations, the actual increases were relatively small compared to Battle Creek’s overall population.

Population by Race in Battle Creek
and Calhoun County 1980-1990

City of
Battle Creek
1980* 1990 Total
Change
1980-90
Percent
Change
1980-90
Asian 460 623 538 117%
Black 8,312 8,972 660 8%
Hispanic 932 875 -57 -6%
Indian 353 342 -11 -3%
White 46,952 43,096 -3,856 -8%
Calhoun County
Asian 552 1,003 451 82%
Black 13,405 14,105 700 5%
Hispanic 2,576 2,452 -124 -5%
Indian 622 707 85 14%
White 125,900 118,847 -7,053 -6%
Includes Battle Creek Township in 1980, Township merged with City in 1983
Source: US Census Bureau

Income

Income for City of Battle Creek residents has increased at a faster rate (87%) than that of Calhoun County (57%) and the State of Michigan (66%). However, the level of median income was lower than either Calhoun County or the state. Median income for Battle Creek was $31,115 in 1990, up $14,486 from 1980. Median income for Calhoun County was $32,567 in 1990 and the state median income was $36,652 in 1990. The per capita income for Battle Creek was $12,963 in 1990, an increase of $6,605 or 104% above that of 1980. Fourteen percent of all Battle Creek families fell below the poverty line in 1990, a slight decline of 0.5% from 1980.

Household Income Range in Battle Creek,
Calhoun County and Michigan 1990

  <$10,000 $10,000-
$14,999
$15,000-
$24,999
$25,000-
$34,999
$35,000
$49,999
$50,000+
City of
Battle Creek
20.5% 11.1% 17.7% 16.1% 15.6% 19.0%
Calhoun
County
N/A* N/A* 18.5% 16.9% 17.8% 19.9%
State of Michigan 15.5% 8.6% 16.4% 15.3% 18.7% 25.5%
*1990 County data organized differently; 268% less than $15,000 in 1990

Economic Trends

Employment
Battle Creek has a diversified employment base. While widely known as the center of the ready-to-eat cereal industry, with Kellogg Company, Kraft/General Foods (Post) and Ralston Purina based in the city, Battle Creek also has the Kellogg corporate headquarters, the Kellogg Foundation, the headquarters of Nippondenso Manufacturing USA, the United States Defense Logistics Center, the Battle Creek Health System and Kellogg Community College as major employers.

Persons Employed in Battle Creek and
Surrounding Communities 1990-2020
Community 1990 2015 2020 Total
Change
1990-
2020

Percent
Change
1990-2020
City of Battle Creek 36,713 42,791 44,238 7,525 20%
Bedford Twp. 1,994 2,549 2,681 687 34%
Emmett Twp. 2,707 4,965 5,503 2,796 103%
Pennfield Twp. 1,847 2,319 2,431 584 32%
City of Springfield 2,571 3,909 4,228 1,657 64%
Calhoun County* 59,650 81,030 85,306 25,656 43%
Projections extended to 2020 based on BCATS projections to 2015
*Calhoun County projections from a computer bulletin board provided by the Michigan Employment Security Commission

Job Growth
Employment in Battle Creek is expected to increase by the year 2020. Battle Creek Area Transportation Study (BCATS) projected an increase of about 20%, or 7,525 jobs, in employment between 1990 and 2020. A smaller increase of 12%, or 2,778 jobs, in terms of employment by residence, was projected for Battle Creek by the Michigan Employment Security Commission. According to BCATS, the largest employment increases between the years 1994 and 2015 will be in the services sector (32%), followed by finance, insurance, and real estate (22%), and construction (19%).

Calhoun County Employment Forecast
1994-2015

Employment Sector 1994 2015 %Change
Services 18,614 24,499 31.62%
Retail Trade 16,041 17,881 11.47%
Durables Manufacturing 8,190 7,677 6.26%
Non-durable Manufacturing 7,993 7,424 -7.12%
State & Local Government 6,705 7,099 5.88%
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 4,524 5,540 22.46%
Federal Gov’t. - Civilian 3,886 4,069 4.71%
Transportation & Public Utilities 3,107 3,537 13.84%
Construction 2,763 3,288 19.00%
Wholesale Trade 1,797 2,114 17.64%
Farm 1,614 1,177 -27.08%
Federal Gov’t. - Military 405 270 -33.33%
Ag. Services, Forestry & Fishing 355 460 29.58%
Mining 209 239 14.35%
Total 76,203 85.274 11.90%
Source: 1995 BCATS Report

Population Projections

Population in Battle Creek and the surrounding jurisdictions is expected to increase modestly. Projections of future population, using four different methods, indicate that the population of Battle Creek will reach between 55,944 to 65,812 persons by 2020.

Comparison of Projections of Battle Creek Population
to 2020 by Four Methods
  2020 BCATS 2020 based
% of DMB
Projection
for County
2020 Straight
line based on
1990-1994
2020 Straight
line based on
1980-1994
Battle Creek City 55,944 57,233 65,812 52,481
Bedford Twp. 10,168 10,463 11,422 9,815
Emmett Twp. 11,354 11,479 17,068 12,346
Pennfield Twp. 8,685 8,938 11,702 8,884
Springfield City 5,742 5,927 6,886 5,401
Calhoun County 145,039 145,039 167,174 136,529
Source: US Census Bureau
BCATS 1995 Report
Michigan Department of Management and Budget

While none of the projections suggest a large increase in population, recent population growth has accelerated, and the future size of the population may be influenced by the recent surge. If Battle Creek Unlimited’s new employment goals of adding 8,000 to 12,000 jobs by the year 2004 become a reality, these population projections may be low, as greater in-migration could occur with strong new job growth.

 

TopExisting Land Use

The City of Battle Creek occupies over 28,000 acres (44 square miles) of land. Approximately 60% (17,000 acres) of the city’s total land area is developed, while 40% (about 11,200 acres) is undeveloped. Few cities in Michigan have such a significant land resource available for future development. The challenge is to ensure that this resource is used wisely, so that development choices are maintained for future generations.

Developed Land

Residential
Approximately 41% of the developed portion of the city is in residential land use. Sixty-nine percent of Battle Creek’s housing is single-family detached. Only about 1% of housing units are single-family attached, and over 15% are multi-family with five or more units.

Other Uses

Of the remaining land uses, almost 21% of Battle Creek’s developed land is zoned industrial; another 3% is underutilized/vacant industrial land and landfill. Approximately 8.5% of Battle Creek’s developed land is zoned for office and retail commercial uses. 22 percent of the city’s developed land is devoted to parks, recreation and open space. This compares very favorably to National Parks and Recreation Association Standards. Six percent of Battle Creek’s developed land area is for school sites and their playfields. Battle Creek is currently served by five public school systems, some of which also serve the City of Springfield and portions of Bedford Township.

Battle Creek’s housing stock is relatively old. Housing in Battle Creek is relatively affordable. The median value in 1990 was $39,300 compared to $42,700 for the county and $60,600 for the state.

Undeveloped Land

Agricultural
Approximately 37.5% of the undeveloped land in Battle Creek is zoned for agricultural use. However, existing (1996) agricultural zoning also permits one-acre lot residential development.

Other Uses
About 17.5% of Battle Creek’s undeveloped land is zoned for residential use at varying densities. Approximately 26% of the undeveloped land is zoned for industrial use (not including the Fort Custer Military Reserve, which would add another or 16%). Over 2% of the undeveloped land is zoned for office and retail commercial use.

Comparison of Undeveloped Land to Population & Job Growth Projections

When compared to population and job growth projections to the year 2020, the profile of undeveloped land by existing zoning shows a significant amount of ‘overzoning’ far in advance of demand. Such overzoning commonly results in "leapfrog" development and reduces the community’s ability to control growth and the costs associated with it.

Population growth projections for the City of Battle Creek to the year 2020 range from 2,300 to 12,300 persons. Assuming an average household size of 2.4 persons, and an average residential density equal to the developed portions of the city (3.2 dwelling units per gross acre of residential land), Battle Creek would need approximately 300 to 1,600 acres to accommodate future residential development (or 5% to 26% of all existing undeveloped residential and agricultural zoned lands).

Job growth projections to the year 2020 range from 2,800 to 7,500 jobs, according to the BCATS. At an existing average of 15 employees per acre, the City would need about 190 to 500 acres of additional land to accommodate new job growth, or the equivalent of 5% to 16% of existing undeveloped land zoned for industrial, office, and commercial use.

Battle Creek is unique in that it has large areas of undeveloped land within the city limit. Battle Creek can guide new development to realize its vision for 2020, and minimize the negative effects of uncontrolled growth on city financial and infrastructure resources.

 

TopFuture Land Use

Future Land Use Plan
The future land use plan illustrates the proposed pattern of development in Battle Creek at full build-out. It also illustrates an urban services boundary defining the geographic area where full urban services will be provided to the year 2020, as well as the staging of development after that target year. Consistent with the citizens’ vision for the future of Battle Creek, the Plan is designed to encourage more compact growth with the incremental expansions of already developed areas guided through planned infrastructure extensions.

Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
The future land use plan illustrates an extensive network of open space corridors throughout the city. This "greenway system" is designed to preserve natural resource corridors (stream channels, wetlands, wooded areas), provide open space relatively close to all residents, link existing and proposed parks and school sites and offer linear recreational opportunities (walking and biking).

The future land use plan shows six new park preserves in the City, as well as three new combined school/park sites, located in the southwest portion of the community.

Residential Neighborhoods

As shown on the future land use map, residential land use should occur in higher densities around the downtown, near major intersections and commercial clusters and along major corridors.

In order to support the cost of water and sewer extensions, new residential development should be encouraged at more urban densities, averaging four dwelling units per acre. The New Neighborhood Diagram illustrates a model for the development of new residential neighborhoods in Battle Creek. Neighborhood-scale service and civic uses (shopping, daycare, school, church)  form an activity focus at the heart of the neighborhood where major streets intersect. Higher density residential development is located adjacent to this neighborhood core with lower density residential development at the neighborhood edges. Open space corridors help to define neighborhood boundaries and link them to other parts of the city.

The future land use map also shows seven proposed residential infill sites. Residential infill development should blend with the character of the surrounding homes, and incorporate parks, linear park links, day care, and other support uses.

The stability of older neighborhoods should be maintained and improved with help from the City and housing non-profits in the form of technical assistance, code enforcement and housing improvement incentives in a joint effort with the Neighborhood Councils. Additional neighborhood preservation strategies are recommended in the Technical Report.

One historic re-use overlay area is identified on the map. In this area, historic homes are used for other purposes, such as group homes and professional offices. The City should ensure that the historic character of these buildings is preserved and that new uses do not conflict with the residential character of the neighborhood.

Future Land Use Map

Industrial
The future land use map allocates substantial land area to industrial use to help ensure a growing and diversified economy. The amount of land area designated for industrial use should be adequate well beyond 2020. Industrial uses include manufacturing production as well as research, design, engineering, administration and transport.

Commercial
Future commercial development should occur in compact clusters or planned centers throughout the city. On the Beckley Road corridor and along I-94, new commercial development is desired to capitalize on the strong regional market created by the interstate corridor, but only in defined locations. This will ensure that new development along I-94 does not undermine the viability of existing commercial areas, or compromise the integrity of existing residential neighborhoods.

Some of the city’s commercial corridors are in decline. The City will examine ways to encourage viable commercial redevelopment in these areas, including physical improvement programs, revision of the zoning code to permit a mix of uses, and focusing infrastructure repairs in those areas. The Technical Report describes the existing commercial corridors and presents recommended strategies for improvement.

Mixed Use
The future land use map displays three areas that include both residential and commercial land uses.

  • Downtown Mixed Use. Downtown should continue to include restaurants, stores, hotels, private and public offices, educational institutions, entertainment, parking and open spaces. Residential development, especially above commercial/office uses should also be encouraged.
  • Mixed-Use Corridor. Mixed-use corridors will contain commercial, office and higher density residential uses. Neighborhood Support Uses. These include convenience stores, gas stations, groceries, hardware, cafes, doctors, dentists and other small-sized facilities.
  • Hart’s Lake Area. This environmentally sensitive scenic area should be developed as a mix of uses that will both preserve and enhance its character. Future development could include recreation, entertainment, a possible conference/training center and, if feasible, limited commercial/specialty retail uses.

Agricultural and Rural Residential
Agricultural use will continue to be permitted in the far southwest portion of the City (beyond the Urban Services Boundary) until sewer, water and improved roads are available to that area. This agricultural preserve will serve as a type of ‘land bank’ for future development beyond the year 2020.

In order to preserve this area for agriculture use and guard against premature development of the area, the current agricultural zoning will need to be revised to allow only agricultural and very low density residential uses (about one dwelling unit per 40 acres). However, parcels that are currently under 15 acres in size within the agricultural zone should be placed into a new R-1RL zoning district with a 10-acre minimum lot size, in recognition of the parcels’ limited utility for agricultural use. Once public sewer and water are available to the area, agricultural land should be incrementally rezoned into a more intensive use consistent with the future land use plan.

Clustered residential development by special use permit should be allowed in the Agricultural Zone, in order to allow the land owner some greater development value, yet retain the bulk of the parcel for future development. Under this option, development would be allowed at a gross density of one dwelling unit per 10 acres of the parent parcel, with residences clustered on smaller lots. The actual size of the lots created would be set by the minimum allowable by the Public Health Department in order to accommodate a septic system, but would not be permitted to be greater than one acre.

The future land use plan promotes new industrial development in or near established industrial parks (such as Fort Custer) as a suitable land use surrounding the airport, and as redevelopment strategy for abandoned, brownfield sites, such as those just to the west and east of downtown, where municipal services are already in place.

 

TopFuture Infrastructure

Transportation


Regional Accessibility
I-94, running east-west across the southern portion of the City of Battle Creek, is a major regional distribution corridor. I-194 and Business Loop 94 link the traditional core of the community to the interstate.

Since 1988, Battle Creek has been working with the State to connect the eastern and western portions of Business Loop 94. This project will greatly enhance economic activity by linking east side residents and the Kellogg and Post factories with I-94 and the Fort Custer Industrial Park. It will also improve safe and convenient access to and through downtown from I-94 while eliminating several key points of congestion. Although property acquisition for this project is complete, state funding for construction is not available as of this writing.

Roads, Streets and Bridges
The City of Battle Creek has approximately 300 miles of streets. The 1995 Battle Creek Area Transportation Study (BCATS) 2015 Long Range Plan identified existing and projected volume deficiencies for the metropolitan area (based on existing 1995 zoning and land use assumptions), and recommended related road improvements. The Transportation Improvements Plan illustrates road, street and bridge improvement projects on the Battle Creek Area Transportation Study (BCATS) list of priority projects to the year 2015. While these projects are generally consistent with the future land use plan, it is important to note that the anticipated BCATS update should consider the changes in land use, development density and phasing proposed in this Plan in forecasting future traffic volumes and improvement needs.

Many other road improvements will be necessary to address the generally poor north/south circulation west of the central area. New roadway construction will also be required as new development occurs, especially in the southwest portion of the community. As proposed improvement projects are completed, the functional classification of a number of roadways will be modified as shown on the Proposed Thoroughfare Plan.

Separate corridor plans should be prepared to evaluate road and street improvements in greater detail as they relate to particular land use changes along key corridors. Affected property owners in the corridor, neighborhood groups and all appropriate city departments should be involved in the preparation of the corridor plans. At a minimum, corridor plans should be prepared for Columbia Avenue, Michigan Avenue, Beckley Road, Helmer Road, Dickman Road, North Avenue and Bedford Road.

Pedestrian and Non-Motorized
As road improvement projects and new developments are planned and approved, pleasant bicycle and pedestrian systems should be provided that safely connect residential areas with most desired destinations. Linear park connections south to Beckley Road should receive priority. As the opportunity is presented, links to the Kal-Haven Trail and to the County bike route system should also be implemented.

Transit
Battle Creek’s transit system currently operates on nine routes serving an estimated 80-85% of the City’s major traffic generators. A "pulse system" is used with all buses converging on a central transfer point downtown. Demand response service is also available to seniors and the disabled. Efforts should continue to encourage transit use and improve transit opportunities. Public transit access from lower income neighborhoods to job centers should be improved. This may require a reconsideration of the balance between fixed route and demand response service. Future road improvements on main corridors should anticipate transit needs and, where feasible, make special provisions for them.

Rail
The City has three operating rail lines: Amtrak, with passenger service between Detroit and Chicago; Conrail, which operates limited freight service; and Grand Trunk, which operates approximately 30 freight trains per day through Battle Creek.

At-grade crossings have been a longstanding issue, with the east-west rail lines delaying traffic on the north-south streets. The City should continue to make improvements on major thoroughfares to alleviate existing traffic tie-ups caused by at-grade rail crossings. The City should also continue to strongly support the provision of high speed rail service between Chicago and Detroit (with a stop in Battle Creek) and place a high priority on improvements necessary to accommodate it. Grade-separated crossings related to high speed passenger rail have been recommended for 20th Street Helmer Road/S. Bedford Road, and Clark Road/Custer Drive.

Air
The W. K. Kellogg Airport, owned and operated by the City, is a 1,500-acre facility located on the west side of Battle Creek. The airport is used for corporate and military flights, with 50,000 flights annually. Beginning in 1997, Western Michigan University is relocating its aviation training facility to the W. K. Kellogg Airport, which will increase annual flights to 90,000. The City is also interested in attracting a training school for a major airline which could increase annual flights to 250,000.

The Planning Commission will periodically examine the zoning of lands on and around the W. K. Kellogg Airport to ensure flexibility in siting appropriate uses and compatibility with abutting uses, to prevent development on land adjacent to the airport that is incompatible with airport noise contours, and to promote development and use consistent with the recommendations of the adopted Airport Master Plan.

Sewer and Water


Sewer
In 1997, the City of Battle Creek wastewater system served approximately 65,000 people in Battle Creek, the City of Springfield, and Bedford, Pennfield and Emmett Townships. The wastewater system also serves the Fort Custer Military Reserve and major industrial facilities.

In order to serve new development, sewer expansion will be phased as indicated by the Urban Services Boundary shown on the Future Land Use Map. Proposed extensions to the year 2020 are shown on the Sanitary Sewer Extension Map.


Water
In 1997, the City of Battle Creek water system served approximately 55,000 people in the City of Battle Creek, the City of Springfield, Emmett, Bedford and Pennfield Townships and the Fort Custer Military Reserve. Each community owns its own water distribution system which connects to the City of Battle Creek system.

The City’s 1987 Comprehensive Water Rate Study estimated that future maximum daily demands are expected to match firm pumping capacity of the Verona wellfield by the year 2010. To expand supply capacity it will be necessary to upgrade some of the smaller existing well pumps and increase treatment capacity.

To serve new development, water lines will be extended incrementally to the Urban Services Boundary as shown on the Proposed Water Extension Map. No new wells, water towers or other water storage devices are anticipated to be needed within the planning period. There is adequate groundwater availability to meet future needs even if some additional water wells are closed.

 

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If you have any questions or comments about this Comprehensive Plan, please contact.


City of Battle Creek
Planning Department
77 E. Michigan Avenue
Battle Creek, Michigan 49017
Phone: 269-966-3320
Fax: 269-966-3529