MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - It was hot and muggy but that didn’t stop dozens of people from speaking at the Planning Commission meeting on May 14, 2018.
Many items were discussed at the meeting, including rezoning roughly 41 acres at 6365 Newton Road from multiple family to commercial, the form-based code work session and rezoning 10.01 acres at 5080 Cornell Road from rural residential to single family-low density. The biggest topic of the night was whether or not the Planning Commission would vote to recommend approval or denial to the Township Board in regard to rezoning 1.12 acres at 2112 Lake Lansing Road from single family-medium density to multiple family, a proposal that was also discussed at the April 23, 2018 Planning Commission meeting.
Dozens of homeowners who live near 2112 Lake Lansing Road spoke in opposition of the proposal.
One homeowner said she and her family chose to live in that community because of "the longstanding commitment to preserving the natural environment and protecting residential and green spaces."
"We are gravely concerned that the potential rezoning of the parcel at 2112 Lake Lansing Road will have significant adverse impacts on our neighborhood," she said. "Not only will it decrease our property values, but placing a multi-family building immediately adjacent to single family homes will lead to increased noise, traffic and trash."
Many homeowners were also concerned about safety for their children.
Another homeowner read a letter written by one of his neighbors, saying "It would dramatically change the safety levels that we as parents have for our children playing in the neighborhood."
Two homeowners who have their houses on the market have already experienced a decrease in property value and lack of interest in buying their homes, as they both mentioned that multiple potential buyers backed out of buying their properties once they heard of this proposal.
Commissioner Peter Trezise said he was leaning in favor of approving this proposal at the April 23, 2018 Planning Commission meeting, but changed his mind after driving by 2112 Lake Lansing Road multiple times after.
"It occurred to me that the property towers over the backs of homes that are very close," Trezise said. "While I don’t believe the increase of eight units will significantly impact the overall traffic of Lake Lansing Road, having that type of traffic coming out at the intersection of Okemos Road and Lake Lansing multiplies the impact and makes it difficult to get in and out of there, so I am going to support the resolution recommending denial of this."
A round of applause came from the audience when the Planning Commission unanimously voted to suggest to the Township Board that it deny the proposal to rezone 1.12 acres at 2112 Lake Lansing Road from single family-medium density to multiple family, as well as unanimously voting to suggest to the Township Board that it deny the proposal to rezone 10.01 acres at 5080 Cornell Road from rural residential to single family-low density.
While 2018 Vice Chair John Scott-Craig is happy that so many people were pleased with the decisions made, he said the goal of the Planning Commission isn't to make people happy, but "to make a land-use recommendation to the Township Board."
"It’s nice when the public seems to be pleased, but what we’re really trying to do is look at the development proposal, look at the future land-use map, which describes what the township’s vision is for the area, and try to reconcile both of those and make a recommendation to the board how the development should move forward."