The final site plan for renovations to the Belleville Road McDonald’s restaurant was approved by the Van Buren Township Planning Commission at its regular meeting Oct. 24.
McDonald’s wants to get started before bad weather arrives, said Terry Carroll, VBT Director of Planning and Economic Development.
Carroll said the planning commission already approved McDonald’s project, but it has been hung up at Wayne County for 3½ months.
Ken Van Tine, architect for McDonald’s, said the previous plan had called for a single curb cut, which they thought the county would prefer, over the current two drives.
But there was an issue with storm water management, Van Tine said. When the building was built it was under the old county standards and the county wants them to meet current county standards. That would mean redoing the whole storm water system, Van Tine said.
He said the county also wanted them to move a utility pole and cut down some trees, which actually belong to the township.
“The cost of doing all this is more than the cost of doing the whole building,” Van Tine said, noting the county is not willing to budge.
So, McDonald’s cut back on its plans and put a drive in front of the building so those entering from the rear can enter the drive-through lane.
“We will keep people off Belleville Road as much as possible,” Van Tine said, noting that was primarily for those going out the back who want to turn north on Belleville Road.
Carroll said at 2 p.m. that day, the cross-access was agreed upon, so drivers will be able to enter and leave McDonald’s from the shopping center to the west.
The building plans remain the same, but the sign in front will be changed into a monument sign. The tall freeway sign in the rear remains without change.
In other business at the Oct. 24 meeting, the commission:
• Reviewed the proposed township 2013 Capital Improvements Program, and asked Treasurer Sharry Budd to pass on to the Downtown Development Authority Commissioner Carl Johnson’s request for improving the looks of the front of the township hall. He said the commission requires businesses to look good and the township hall needs work. Budd pointed out the pillars finally got painted. Resident John Delaney said the vehicle entrance to the township hall also is dark at night and needs more light for safer turns;
• Set a public hearing for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28 on proposed amendments to the Stormwater Detention Ponds ordinance. The amendments came as a response to concerns over landscaping and fencing. Under the changes the commission can approve landscaping alternatives and decide whether fencing is required; and
• Approved changes to the commission’s Rules and Procedures that includes putting the vice chairman in charge of timing of citizen comments and maintaining order. The document now goes to the township board for consideration.
The meeting was chaired by Vice Chairman Donald Boynton in the absence of Chairwoman Carol Thompson, who was attending the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce fund-raising basketball game at the new Belleville High School.
In a written report to the commission, Carroll reported on several projects, including Menard’s.
He said his office is reviewing a site plan that was submitted several weeks late and incomplete. He anticipated a partial review at staff plan review on Oct. 24. Carroll said the township does not have a good idea of the final number of variances needed because it does not have storm water information.
Carroll said he and the township engineer attended a meeting between Menard’s and Wayne County regarding storm water, at the invitation of Menard’s.
Carroll said they are having a difficult time dealing with the storm water created by the more than 31 acres of the combined Belleville Square/Farmer Jack and Menard’s site.
Wayne County was less than receptive to Menard’s original suggestions and they now have to go back with the information they learned at the recent meeting and make some decisions on how to resolve this issue.
As for the Menard’s rezoning, the township now has an application for Re-Zoning with Conditions as allowed for under 18.09 of the Zoning Ordinance. This is a relatively new provision of the state statute that allows applicants to suggest conditions to a local municipality to have a property rezoned.
The state law is, however, quite clear that the applicant has to freely offer the conditions and the local unit of government cannot offer or coerce the conditions from the applicant.
“This approach should resolve the issue of the non-owner who signed the re-zoning application several weeks ago that caused this delay. The application and paperwork is now at the township attorney’s office for review and comment,” Carroll said.
Carroll also reported that there has not been a lot of progress on the Hoosier landfill gas to energy project.