Proposal to Rezone Green Space Receives Mixed Reactions

Proposal to Rezone Green Space Receives Mixed Reactions

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - At the January 14th Meridian Township Planning Commission eeting, John Scott-Craig was elected as Chair of the Commission, Ken Lane was elected as Vice Chair and David Premoe was elected as Secretary. Items up for discussion included rezoning Giguere Homes, building a 70,213 square-foot mixed-used building at 2875 Northwind Drive and the proposal to rezone an area north of Grand River Avenue, east of Sirhol and west of Wardcliff Drive.

The applicant wanted to rezone a 4.6-acre lot from one- and two-family residential to multiple family housing. His plan was to create a 53-unit development with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes, roughly 113 parking spots as well as green space.

The location was attributed as one of the reasons to develop the land.

"It's walkable to schools,” Commissioner Gerald Richards said. “It's walkable to transportation - bus transportation. It's walkable to restaurants. It's walkable to a grocery store. It’s an in-field project and the utilities are already there.”

The owner of the property had been approached about selling the land numerous times before. However, he refused time and time again because of the developers’ emphasis on student housing.

"I'm totally against having students live there,” the owner said.

When he was approached by Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. he researched the company extensively, even inquiring the opinions from its competitors. He was impressed with the development company’s reputation and their proposal to develop the property into family housing.

He thought about their proposal and said, "This might be a project that might be amenable to the neighborhood – might be amenable to the area. It would be the type of resident that we would like and it would not create that much of a traffic incidence that everybody's so concerned about. I think it's a good project and I know that they'll build a project that looks good.”

Despite the support from the owner, the amenities and the prime location, the commission and nearby residents weren’t convinced due to their concerns about high density and an increase in traffic.

“The question is density, and whether it gets developed at its current density or at the high density,” Richards said.

The developer of the project disagreed with the commission and nearby residents, saying he thought this project was align with the township's master plan.

"I think master plans are important to the community,” the developer said. “I think they're important to your community because of the traffic issues and the different things that you have going on, but I feel that our development could be a benefit to getting density, getting people close where they can walk to amenities and not have to drive."

This was a public hearing so this proposal will be discussed further at the next Planning Commission meeting on January 28.

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