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The 2012 Peshawbestown Community Master Plan applies community planning principles where few have gone before: to lands recognized as a sovereign nation by the United States Government. The seat of Tribal membership in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians that spans six counties, Peshawbestown’s plan can be seen as a guide not just to community development, but to the preservation and advancement of culture and way of life that is unique to our state and its history.

A visioning session aimed at residents of the reservation was supplemented by three other sessions for Tribal members living in the surrounding communities, and a session aimed specifically at children consulted those who lived on the reservation as well as those who did not. These findings joined an analysis of the Tribe’s ancient “seventh generation” philosophy of sustainability to generate the overall guiding principles of the document: walkability, compact form, safety and a sense of place on M-22, clustered land- and water-based development that creates a synergy conducive to economic development, defined areas for agriculture and vineyards, and traditional neighborhoods for Tribal members with a diversity of housing types for all age groups.


Because this is the first comprehensive master plan for this community, and because its sovereign status affords the opportunity for nearly limitless detail and scope where necessary or desired, planning consultants built a detailed picture of existing conditions that included the community’s demographics, housing occupancy, commuting practices, the significance and condition of its major state thoroughfare, public transit, nonmotorized trails, sanitary system, water system, and retail market and opportunities. We also capitalized on existing work by incorporating and synthesizing a previous marina market analysis, long-range transportation plan, housing needs assessment, and economic development/business market study.

Five conceptual outlines were presented and measured against a checklist of local and regional sustainability objectives before the development of a Consensus Conceptual Framework that satisfies all six objectives. The resulting master plan changes the character of M-22 from “rural highway” to “village street” with the use of roundabouts on either end and a ring road bypass to allow closure of the state trunkline for festivals and other events. The downtown plan boldly re-sites the hotel and casino to better serve the vision of a waterfront reconfigured for work and play, while residential plans provide for traditional neighborhoods with particular emphasis on housing for Tribal Elders as well as rural residential neighborhoods with shared use pathways to Tribal facilities and the downtown area. A separate neighborhood shopping district, distinct from downtown and incorporating Tribal services is analyzed in the context of the master plan for Sutton’s Bay Township and found to be consistent. The plan concludes with both broad discussions about the path ahead for critical components and a simple, easy-to-use implementation chart detailing work to be done over the next three years. 

Peshawbestown Community
Master Plan
Peshawbestown, Michigan

2013 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

Michigan Association of Planning

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