Community Development

Community Development

Community Development Department Staff 

Ms. Paula Priebe, AICP
Community Development Director 
(231) 592-4035

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

Mrs. Flora Sermon
Grant Coordinator

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

Ms. Jessie Black
Community Economic Development Specialist

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 Community Development Director, Paula Priebe, at (231) 592-4035 or

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 Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals:

The Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 6:30PM will be an in-person meeting and can be attended in person at City Hall.
Notice is hereby given that the following Public Hearings will take place on October 19, 2022 at the City of Big Rapids Planning Commission:  1) Zoning Ordinance Map Amendment Request to Change 416 N State Street from C-3 Commercial to R-R Restricted Residential and 2) Site Plan Review for a New Addition at 106 N Bronson Avenue. One item of General Business is also on the Agenda: Review of Revised Site Plans for a New Krist Oil Gas Station and Food Mart at 827 N State Street.