Community A - L: Trends in Land Use
Much of the development that is taking place in Michigan is low density scattered rural subdivisions and strip residential development, commonly occurring along county roads. Strip commercial development is taking place at the edges of town and this can lead to reduced retail shopping opportunities downtown.

This development tends to diminish the rural character and small town atmosphere of our communities, and some places tend to lose their unique character.

Such development consumes a great deal of land, is dependent on the automobile, and is very energy inefficient. Oftentimes it is uneconomical for the expansion or extension of utilities or other public services.

Montcalm County communities are dealing with the problems of finding ways of accommodating growth while attempting to maintain their rural character. Urban residents are migrating to rural areas, and farmland is being converted to housing. Increasing demands are being placed on these locales to provide services and nuisance complaints are increasing.

Three Montcalm county Townships have had the opportunity through the Fund for Rural America Project, a USDA grant program designed to enhance rural economies through extension, research and partnering to document the changes that have taken place over a twenty year span in their township in the county. These are Reynolds, Maple Valley and Bushnell.

Land use maps for 1978 and 1998 for these townships, land use change maps and 1998 maps with rural residences are available to view by selecting the "Land Use Maps" link.