Master Land Use Plan Update (2021-2022)


The City of Ferndale endeavors to update its Master Land Use Plan (also known as the “Ferndale Master Plan”) and its Parks & Recreation Master Plan to equitably reflect current and future land use, economic development, parks and recreation, accessibility, housing, and sustainability needs of the community, including the response to climate change and its impacts. The City of Ferndale adopted the Ferndale Master Plan and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2017, which set a “common vision for the City” with sustainability as a key theme integrated throughout the plan. The plan guided Ferndale’s strategic efforts over the past four years in key areas such as land use, housing and neighborhoods, economic vitality; recreation and open space; transportation and mobility; and city services, facilities, and infrastructure. The planning process established an open, online two-way dialogue between the city and its residents.

The City's update to the Parks & Recreation Master Plan and development of a Climate Action Plan will be done in conjunction with the Master Land Use Plan update since all three plans contain similar information and demonstrates the overall vision for the city.

To review the existing Master Plan and Parks and Recreation Plan, click the links below:

Current Phase - Preliminary Planning (Updated June 25, 2021)

On Monday, June 28, 2021, City Council will consider a contract with SmithGroup for consulting services to assist in the community's Master Plan/Parks and Recreation Plan/Climate Action Plan update. SmithGroup is recommended by Steering Committee after a competitive request for proposals process and review of applications. To review the City Council agenda item, please visit (click 'Agenda' next to the City Council meeting and review item 8B).

E-mail Sign Up

Sign up for email updates regarding upcoming meetings and participation opportunities here:

Steering Committee

A Steering Committee of staff, board & commissioner representatives, and residents will help guide the overall process. The steering committee does not have more authority than other community members or ability to adopt the Master Plan, but will help ensure the process is inclusive. The proposed steering committee includes 12-14 community members, as well as 10-12 staff members. The steering committee would assist City staff by:

  • Participating in a meeting to review proposals by potential consultants to assist in creating the plan.
  • Provide feedback throughout the process, including plan goals, draft plans, and community engagement strategies.
  • Share updates at their respective Board or Commission as a liaison between the FAIAC and the steering committee.
  • Share opportunities for friends, family, neighbors, and community members to participate.

The City received applications for two residents (age 18-54) and one senior resident (age 55+) and notified randomly selected applicants during the week of May 3rd. To view a video of the random selection process, click HERE. The City received applications for one (1) youth resident (age 9-18) and randomly selected that applicant to participate on the Steering Committee during the week of May 24, 2021.

The steering committee member commitment would include 6-8 meetings between May 2021 and April 2022 during the planning process. Meetings would primarily be conducted via phone or web conference at times that work for the group. In person meetings may be an option, depending on the future health and safety protocols. The steering committee would also be invited to participate in public meetings, such as Planning Commission, City Council, or community meetings.

Please note that City policy exempts those running for office to participate on steering committees during election years. However, if you are running for office, there will be many other opportunities to participate in the plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Master Plan? A Master Plan is a document required by the State of Michigan that records existing conditions and describes municipal policies and actions related to land use, culture and the economy, housing and neighborhoods, recreation and open space, transportation and mobility, and public services and facilities. The Plan sets a common vision, goals, and actions for where the City should head during the next five to ten years and beyond, and is used to guide decision-making for City staff and officials.
  • What is the difference between the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance? A Master Plan establishes policy to direct the City and recommends review of and possible amendments to zoning regulations. The Master Plan is not the law and does not itself change zoning regulations. It provides direction for the future, whereas the Zoning Ordinance regulates the current use of land.
  • How often are communities in Michigan required to update their Master Plan? The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act requires local units of government to update their Master Plans every 5 years. An update to the Parks & Recreation Master Plan every 5 years is also required by the State of Michigan in order to be eligible for recreation grants.
  • When was the last Master Plan and Parks and Recreation Plan adopted? The majority of the work on the Ferndale Master Plan and Parks & Recreation Master Plan was completed in 2016 and the plan was adopted by City Council in January 2017. Therefore, the Master Plans are required to be updated in 2021-2022.
  • Why are the Parks and Recreation Plan and Climate Action Plan part of the overall Master Plan process? Parks and Recreation and Climate Action have direct ties to land use, planning, zoning, and sustainability policy and help guide the City's vision and action items. The previous 2017 Master Plan included an update to the Parks and Recreation and included environmental sustainability throughout the plan. An update to the Parks and Recreation plan helps the City qualify for future grant opportunities and directs future park improvements. Creation a Climate Action Plan aligns with the City Council Strategic Plan and Climate Mayor's Agreement.
  • How were board and commissioner representatives selected to participate in the Steering Committee? The Master Land Use Plan, Parks and Recreation Plan, and Climate Action Plan will include goals and recommendations related to planning, land use, zoning, parks and recreation, housing, and sustainability. Members from boards and commissions that direct policy for those categories, such as the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Environmental Sustainability Commission, etc. were invited to self-select volunteers for the steering committee.
  • How long will the Master Plan process take? The general estimate is a 12-14 month long process from City Council approval of a consultant to assist in the process to City Council adoption of the plan.
  • What are the age requirements for the youth resident on the Steering Committee? The City is currently accepting applications for one (1) youth resident (age 9-18) to participate on the Steering Committee.
  • If I am not on the Steering Committee, how can I participate in the Master Plan process? The Master Plan is a community-driven plan that will be inclusive and have many opportunities for plan creation, input and feedback. More details will be provided in the July/August 2021.
  • When would City Council consider a consultant to assist in the Master Plan process? Staff expects to bring the steering committee's recommendation for a consultant to City Council in late May or early June 2021.
  • When does the City expect community engagement to begin for the Master Plan? The tentative start of the project and community engagement would be in July/August 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is a Planned Unit Development (PUD)? This is a form of planning allows for flexibility and creativity in normal zoning requirements. There are several requirements developers must fulfill in order to qualify for this type of project. Those requirements are:
  • How can I review the documents for this project? There is a copy of the environmental reports as provided by the development team, as well as key contacts available at the Ferndale Public Library. Otherwise, there is a set of key project links found on the right side of this page. Can't find what you are looking for? Feel free to contact the CED Department at