MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - On Monday, July 27th, the Meridian Township Planning Commission discussed a request to establish an auto repair shop in a 4,900 square foot building at 1732 Hamilton Road.
The request was submitted by 1732 Hamilton Road LLC. Currently, the applicant does operate an auto repair shop at the location in question. On January 16, 2020, the applicant was informed by code enforcement that a Special Use Permit is needed to operate an auto repair shop in a C-2 zoning district that has been operational since October 2019. Since then, the auto repair shop has submitted an application for the permit and have remained operational while they await their public hearing.
Meridian Township Principal Planner, Peter Menser, did bring up the issue of the applicant being operational without a permit. However, he also told the Commission that he does not think it will be a big issue.
“Keep in mind, they did open without any approval,” he said. “But we will go through the request. I think the Township would have taken stronger action if it was going to be a big issue, but I think we will find this property is fairly well suited for this kind of use.”
The SUP application materials described the proposed service as regular vehicle maintenance and repair. The applicant has reported that typically four to five customers visit the business per day. He also reported that there are usually one or two deliveries of parts supplies per day. Due to the expected traffic, a traffic assessment or study will not be required. The business will also be limited to the parking that is already on site.
The site in question is currently zoned as C-2, or commercial. A C-2 site is required to have at least 100 feet of lot frontage and 4,000 square feet of lot area. The subject site has 87.20 feet of lot frontage along Hamilton Road and 18,738.93 square feet of lot area. However, even though the minimum lot width standard is not met, there are no propositions for building additions or a rearrangement of lot lines. So, the undersized plot is not an issue in regard to the SUP proposal.
Other issues, such as noise and fumes, where also discussed. However, Secretary Gerald Richards gave his views as to why these issues may not be big problems.
“I would say that the concerns that have been raised, I think I don’t see them being an issue,” he said. “In terms of noise, lawnmowers are a whole lot more noisy than most motor vehicles. So, I do see that as an issue. Prevailing winds there are basically out of the west. So, if there happened to be an issue of occasionally with a fume, its going basically east which is commercial and not residential. So, I think this is a good use of the property.”
If the Planning Commission decides to not grant the Special Use Permit to the applicant, then they will have to either shut down completely or find a new location. However, during the straw poll, the Commission seemed to be unanimous in support of granting the permit. The Planning Commission will make the final decision on this matter at their next meeting on August 10th.