By Sue Moore
Tim Brown, a 26-year veteran of the Schoolcraft Planning Commission, its chair for the last 22 years and a descendant of a venerable Village founding father, E. Laken Brown, was passed over for reappointment by the Village Council at its last meeting in December.
Brown, who has made those years on the planning commission his community service project, said he didn’t understand the decision and was “blindsided” by it.
“Nobody talked to me in advance, but it seems that some people in the community took offense to my standing of not making exceptions to the zoning ordinances and the deadlines that are entailed in it,” Brown said.
“In the future, the village will need to offer more training to understand more clearly what the job is of the members of the Planning Commission and even the Village Council. I am concerned about the direction of the visioning sessions that have taken place over the past year, especially the guidance of the consultants,” he implied. “They are very creative but some solutions they offered don’t make sense. Now we are in the process of rewriting the master plan and the village ordinances, so I’m retiring from the effort.”
During his 22 years as chair of the planning commission, Brown believes the board has done a good job in protecting the residential neighborhoods while encouraging business growth and development. “It’s always been a challenge and we need to broaden and encourage new kinds of businesses to the downtown. We should pull together business people to start to get this going. They just aren’t scared [enough] yet but this needs to be solved,” Brown said.
Brown was born in Schoolcraft but his family moved to Indiana after he was in first grade. He graduated from Indiana University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science, expecting to teach in college. He and his wife, Dana, decided to take a look at the possibilities in the Kalamazoo area so he could return to his home town. She found a job right away as the first nurse hired into the Bronson Hospital neonatal unit that was being formed at that time. Brown sort of fell into real estate and has been with Re-Max for many years.
“It has been a pleasure working with Tim and the Planning Commission issues over the last 14 years that I’ve been village manager,” Cheri Lutz said. “He has been a great asset to the commission during the years, especially with the rewriting of the village ordinances in 1991.”
Mike Rochholz, a member of the Village Council, complimented Brown on his years of service and his wealth of knowledge.