Three Oaks Township owns a large parcel on US-12. For about a decade, the property was offered for sale and listed as available for industrial purposes. However, little interest had been expressed and, despite several efforts, it was never purchased by a private party for development.
In the fall of 2011, Three Oaks Township submitted a grant application to The Pokagon Fund to assist with planning and market analyses for future development of the site, dubbed Enterprise Park. The grant request was approved and in the spring of 2012, Three Oaks Township formed a Study Committee to work with Williams & Works to prepare a plan to foster investment on the site.
The process began with the gathering of background information on site conditions. Information on planning policies, traffic patterns, public infrastructure, locational attributes, natural features and soil types were scrutinized. Estimates for public water and sewer extensions were also prepared for benchmarking. Committed to community engagement, Three Oaks Township made every effort to involve the public in preparing the vision for the property. The process included a community opinion survey, a Community Meeting, and a focus group session. A market analysis was also conducted and evaluated competing industrial land in the local marketplace. The analysis also reported on the public’s most preferred land uses. A general market assessment also ensued, summarizing location assets and challenges, recognizing competing sites, and culminating in a list of optimal uses for the site.
The final phase involved the development of an implementation framework to realize the preferred concept. However, the framework was prepared recognizing that flexibility and mixed-uses should be accommodated and that a rigid development plan was likely not as feasible. As such, the Plan promotes both the preferred concept prepared by the public, as well as uses supportive and complementary to the public’s preferred uses identified as optimal in the market study. Specific strategies for implementing the Plan, including amendments to the Township Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance, marketing activities, potential utility extension, and potential funding sources are described in the document.