OKEMOS, MI - A public hearing was held in the Meridian Township Town Hall Room on July 7, in which there were 4 different amendment proposals to public projects were heard, led by Director of Community Planning and Development, Tim Schmitt.
The meeting lasted just over an hour, and the topic of highest interest was the proposed amendment to the Village of Okemos project. Newest updates to the project propose to reduce construction in commercial space by over 15,000 square feet, with the removal of 86 residential units as well.
Owner of TruNorth Development (the leading company on the project) Will Randle was on hand at the hearing, and attributed changes to the proposal to economic conditions brought on by the pandemic: “We’re trying to figure out a project that we can build...we’ve seen the cost for space more than double since we started looking at this project two years ago.”
Residents were vocal with both support and opposition, while some even floated the idea of postponing the project until the economy and real estate market were more cost-friendly.
“You only get one shot at building downtown,” one Township resident chimed in.
In opposition, another Township resident commented towards Schmitt, “I implore you to squash this plan, because this is not what the agreement was,” referring to the repeated reduction of construction plans.
“I am convinced that this project can go through...you can get creative to incentivize people to come [to the Village]...we don’t know what is going to happen in five years, but right now we still have someone willing to invest in that property,” another resident added in support of the project. Neighborhoods and Economic Development Director Amber Clark also voiced her support of the project, noting the remaining economic feasibility of the project.
Discourse on the Village project lasted for nearly a half hour, with over 2 dozen residents in attendance to weigh in.
Other topics of the meeting included the amendment to proposals on the Emerald Lake planned unit development, a proposal on the Newton Pointe project, as well as a proposal for a building area increase on the Pine Village project were all heard as well.
The Village of Okemos project will have to receive approval from Director Schmitt, as well as site plan approval and an extension on their use permit, but construction could begin before the end of the 2021 calendar year.
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