A public hearing was held before the Van Buren Township Planning Commission Aug. 22 on a proposed rezoning of .61 acres of land to make way for a Menard’s store.
A decision on the rezoning is expected at the Sept. 12 commission meeting.
The parcel up for rezoning is being purchased from the Wayne County Fairgrounds in order to square off the land for the proposed Menard’s development and allow the required setbacks.
The parcel, currently zoned R1-B (Single Family Residential) needs to be changed to C-2 (Extensive Highway Business) for the project.
Mike Simmons, real estate representative from Menard’s, which is based in Eau Claire, WI, said the .61 acres will be incorporated in the 20.4-acre site for Menard’s.
George Craven of Fisher Road voiced his concern about traffic patterns and increased traffic along Quirk Road and the North I-94 Service Drive.
Commission Chairwoman Carol Thompson said the traffic concerns are a little premature since they presently are dealing only with the rezoning of the parcel.
Commissioner Bob McKenna said he was concerned about the N. Service Drive and Belleville Road intersection and the traffic stacking.
McKenna said he talked to one of the VBT traffic officers who told him that intersection was probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the township. He said he was concerned about traffic going up and down Quirk Road, which is a residential area with homes close to the roadway. He asked what provisions are being made for the traffic.
VBT Director of Planning and Economic Development Terry Carroll said there have been discussions on traffic and a Wayne County road engineer was at the township on another matter and they discussed a county traffic study for that area.
Carroll said Menard’s was encouraged to get a traffic study and sign the site.
Carroll said by Oct. 3, he expects to have a pretty good listing of “no fits” to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals. He said he will administratively deny the plans so Menard’s will have to go to the BZA for the variances.
Carroll said the applicant is trying to minimize the number of variances being requested.
Carroll presented an aggressive draft timetable for the Menard’s project, which is right on schedule, so far.
Following the Aug. 22 public hearing, the schedule is:
• Sept. 12 – Planning Commission recommends approval of rezoning to township board;
• Sept. 18 – Township board first reading of rezoning request;
• Sept. 19 – Site plan staff review meeting #2;
• Oct. 2 – Township board second reading/adoption of rezoning;
• Oct. 3 – Site plan staff review meeting #3;
• Oct. 24 – Planning Commission holds public hearing on special approval;
• Oct. 30 – BZA hearing for variances (special meeting on fifth Tuesday);
• Nov. 14 (or special Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 31) – Planning Commission recommends special approval and grants preliminary site plan;
• Nov. 20 (or, if planning commission had special meeting, could be Nov. 6) – Township board grants special approval; and
• Dec. 12 (or, if planning commission had special meeting, could be Nov. 28) – Planning Commission grants final site plan approval.
The family owned, home-improvement store, which would bring 75 full-time jobs and 75 part-time jobs, is expected to take nine months to construct following the initial ground-breaking, which Menard’s hoped would be next spring.
At the Aug. 22 meeting, the commission also held a brief public hearing, with no public input, on proposed changes to the Wireless Communications ordinance to comply with state law. The wireless towers must now be approved administratively and there is a new timeline and cap on fees. This will be considered at the Sept. 12 meeting and recommended to the township board for approval.
The commission also approved sending a letter to Canton Township showing no problems with its updated master plan.