Community Development

Community Development

Community Development Department Staff 

Vacant
Community Development Director 
(231) 592-4058 (City Manager)
mgifford@cityofbr.org

Ms. Emily Szymanski
Planning and Zoning Technician
Rental Inspection Coordinator
(231) 592-4036
eszymanski@cityofbr.org

Mrs. Flora Sermon
Grant Coordinator
231-592-4032

Mr. Andrew Hartung
Rental Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer
Office: (231) 592-4057
Cell: (231) 250-9588
ahartung@cityofbr.org

Building Official
Mecosta County Building Department
(231) 592-0105

About the Community Development Department
The Community Development Department has the following offices:  Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement, Rental Inspections, Grant Administration, and Community Economic Development.

The Department of Community Development includes the following functions and responsibilities:

  • Providing technical support to the City Commission in matters pertaining to planning, zoning, building, and community development, and other specific subjects as directed by the City Commission or City Manager.
  • Providing technical support to the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Administering the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Administering the City's building, housing, and subdivision regulations and any other ancillary or related portions of the City Code as assigned by the City Manager.
  • Maintaining and updating the plans and regulations administered by the Department, and others at the direction of the City Manager.
  • Conducting zoning and other regulatory inspections as required by the City Code or the City Manager.
  • Discovering and pursuing grants and other funding opportunities for the City.
Providing information to the general public on the subjects of planning, zoning, subdivision regulations, and building codes within the functions of the Department.

Starting a Development Project
Prior to the beginning of any development process in the City of Big Rapids, applicants are encouraged to meet with City staff for a Development Pre-Application Meeting. It is helpful to utilize the Development Pre-Application Checklist in gathering all of the necessary information for the meeting. To request a Development Pre-Application Meeting, please contact Planning and Zoning Technician, Emily Szymanski, at (231) 592-4035 or eszymanski@cityofbr.org.

Please note, you are not required to have any preliminary drawings or site plans to schedule a meeting. Our Community Development and Public Works staff would be happy to meet and discuss concepts for a property so long as you have a specific site and use in mind. If you do not have a specific site and use in mind, please contact our City Manager to discuss economic development opportunities. 

Current Projects for Review at the Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals meetings:
Join us at the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 6:30 pm, at City Hall for two  public hearings:
1. Site Plan Review for a facility expansion at 525 N Dekrafft Avenue (Big Rapids Products). Please view the proposed project plans here. 
2.  Site Plan Review for an improved parking lot at City-owned property at 201 N Bronson Avenue (Dial-a-Ride building). Site Plans can be found here.