The City of West Branch is seeking an applicant to represent the Health or Transportation segments of the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission is responsible for directing the short and long-range growth and development of the City.  The Planning Commission is a paid board position of $25 per meeting and meets the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 pm and the fourth Tuesday of each month as needed at City Hall.  Terms are for three years with the filling of the current term of the education segment to end on 11/30/19 and the current term of the recreation segment to end on 11/30/20.  Applicants are asked to submit a board application by Wednesday, September 4 at 12:00 pm to City Hall at 121 N. Fourth St., West Branch, MI 48661, by fax at 989-345-4390, or by email at  Listed below is the Planning Commission job description.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact City Hall at the addresses above or by phone at 989-345-0500.

The Planning Commission is an advisory body to the City Council, which is responsible for directing the short and long-range growth and development of the City through the maintenance and implementation of the City’s Zoning Code, Master Plan, and other associated specific plans. It is composed of seven members with one member being from the City Council and six qualified electors of the City.  Members are appointed by City Council, based on nominations from current members of the Planning Commission. Each Commissioner will be appointed to a three-year term with no maximum term limit.


  • In order to implement the Master Plan, the Planning Commission is empowered to administer the City’s zoning laws, ordinances, rules and regulations which: 
  • Regulate the use and appearance of buildings, structures and land. 
  • Regulate signs and billboards. 
  • Regulate location, height, bulk, number of stores, and size of buildings and structures; the size and use of lots, yards, courts, and other open spaces; the percentage of a lot which may be occupied by a building or structure; the intensity of land use. 
  • Establish requirements for off-street parking and loading. 
  • Establish and maintain building setback lines. 

The Planning Commission also reviews environmental documents and capital improvement programs. 

Desirable Qualifications: 

A Planning Commissioner’s primary job is to make land use decisions that are consistent with the policies and plans formally adopted by the City Council. Therefore, the first priority of a Planning Commissioner must be to develop decision-making skills and knowledge of City policies. It is not critical to have training in fields such as planning, architecture, law, civil engineering, geology, economics, or demography.  These are skills that are available to the Commissioner from staff, consultants, and the applicant. The commissioner’s job is to weight the professional input given in staff reports, environmental impact reports, and consultant reports. A commissioner is much like a judge who is trained to render a legal decision based on the testimony of experts and others who appear as witnesses in a trial.

 Suggested qualifications for a Planning Commissioner include: 

  • A willingness and ability to research and report on issues, programs and policies related to development issues. 
  • A willingness to attend night meetings on a regular basis. 
  • A willingness to assist in implementing projects as decided upon by the City Council. 
  • The ability to sustain harmonious working relationships with Commission members, the City Council, residents, and the public. 
  • A willingness to attend extracurricular meeting and training seminars related to regional planning uses. 
  • The Planning Commission will strive to encourage as many participants from various stakeholders of the City such as the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Retail Merchants, industrial park business owners, residential members, multi-family housing institutions, medical/health fields, financial institutions, and developers. 

The following is a message from Mayor Paul Frechette:

Thank you for considering joining the Planning Commission! As a Citizen Planner you are looking forward to a rich and challenging experience. Remember that being an effective Planning Commission Member requires you to get involved in the community, become informed, and use common sense, fairness, and objectivity towards all that comes before you. It is your responsibility to balance the public good with private rights and interests.

Your involvement and service is a critical component in shaping our community’s future. Never forget that you are serving the common good of all the residents of the community.

 Thanks again,


For a job application, please click