Proposed Okemos Pointe Development
Raises Concerns for Residents
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The developers of the proposed Okemos Pointe complex believe their project will add value to Meridian Township.
But many Meridian Township residents have conflicting viewpoints on the matter.
The Planning Commission meeting on March 23 featured a number of citizens who offered their opinions on the Okemos Pointe project.
Forsberg Family, LLC is requesting to rezone the area at Kansas Street and Jolly Oak Road from industrial, professional office and rural residential to commercial, with an offer of conditions for a mixed-use plan development.
Brent Forsberg, one of the individuals behind the project, said he has been working to make changes to make the project more Meridian Township-friendly. This includes a tree study of the Kansas Street portion of the development and working with Michigan Energy Options.
"I know that a lot of people are concerned about it, but we have done our research and we are excited," said Forsberg. "We know this will increase the property values and we're doing everything we can to minimize the screening and have everything out of place on Kansas Road to try to keep everything so it all flows together."
The current plan for the Okemos Pointe project is to have no more than 18 dwelling units per acre in their housing complexes.
Some believe this is too dense.
"If you commute and need to get to Lansing you know what the rush hour is like....it's crazy there on Okemos and Jolly Road," said Steve Freemar, a Meridian Township resident who has lived on Kansas Road for the last 22 years. "That intersection is just absolutely crazy and when you add the potential of over a thousand cars....you don't live next door to it, but if you need to commute, it's going to affect you."
Meridian Township resident Ann Zimmerman echoed Freeman's concerns.
"If it were single family dwelling, I'd be good with it," said Zimmerman, who lives on Coyote Creek near the proposed development area. " I'm opposed to traffic, I'm opposed to lights, I' opposed to the crime and I don't think my property value is going to increase."
Meridian Township resident Chris Buck said he approves of the Okemos Pointe project and the accessibility it will offer.
"I have two teenage boys," said Buck. "I'm excited about the connectivity of our whole quadrant, of the community to allow them to bike down at some of the businesses and get an ice cream cone at Okemos Dairy without fighting the sidewalk on Jolly Road."
The Planning Commission agreed that hearing different viewpoints about the Okemos Pointe project is beneficial, because it means residents are taking an active role in their community. However, Head Chair John Scott Craig reminded the Planning Commission and those attending the meeting that their role is to vote solely on the conditions of rezoning Jolly Oak Road and Kansas Street. The final decision on the actual construction of the project will be heard by the Township Board.
The Planning Commission did discuss some ideas to make the Okemos Pointe project more friendly for the community, including decreasing the number of dwellings per acre and adding a grocery store to the development.
The implications of the major shift from rural residential to commercial was also a major item that was discussed.
"What seemed to occupy a lot of a time was part of the project that was surrounded by rural residential ,because it would be quite different having multi-family units in an area that is not developed as intensely," said Commissioner Holly Cordill.
Cordill said it is likely that the proposed rezoning of Jolly Oak Road and Kansas Street will appear on the agenda of the next Planning Commission meeting on April 13, when a proposed vote is tentatively scheduled.