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GRDadof3

Plainfield Twp planners fighting sprawl

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I hadn't posted anything on this yet, but the saga on the Family Fare/7 Mile store fight is heating up. The proposed development would move the Family Fare store from its current location on Northland Drive near Plainfield up to 7 Mile and Northland Drive. Worrying that moving the store further North will encourage more widespread development, the rezoning has been denied by the Plainfield Twp Planning Commission, and will be taken up by the Twp Board in December.

The latest salvo is a group of township residents will hire an attorney to fight the development.

Attorney hired to fight Plainfield Twp development

Plainfield planners still oppose rezoning

Family Fare discussion still heated

Residents even claimed they were "shut out" of a township meeting by the developer flooding the room with FF employees and supporters prior to the meeting start time:

Development opponents "left out" of meeting

One of our UPers was there in the thick of things. :)

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I hadn't posted anything on this yet, but the saga on the Family Fare/7 Mile store fight is heating up. The proposed development would move the Family Fare store from its current location on Northland Drive near Plainfield up to 7 Mile and Northland Drive. Worrying that moving the store further North will encourage more widespread development, the rezoning has been denied by the Plainfield Twp Planning Commission, and will be taken up by the Twp Board in December.

The latest salvo is a group of township residents will hire an attorney to fight the development.

Attorney hired to fight Plainfield Twp development

Plainfield planners still oppose rezoning

Family Fare discussion still heated

Residents even claimed they were "shut out" of a township meeting by the developer flooding the room with FF employees and supporters prior to the meeting start time:

Development opponents "left out" of meeting

One of our UPers was there in the thick of things. :)

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Why is there not talk of trying to expand in the current location? I know the one by my house Leonard Fuller they bought the former Hallmark next door and expanded. They also bought a former tanning salon on the corner to put in the new gas station. I dont see why the same cant be done here. Neighbors don't want you there then try another location you really don't wanna pee off the potential customers before moving into the neighborhood.

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Why is there not talk of trying to expand in the current location? I know the one by my house Leonard Fuller they bought the former Hallmark next door and expanded. They also bought a former tanning salon on the corner to put in the new gas station. I dont see why the same cant be done here. Neighbors don't want you there then try another location you really don't wanna pee off the potential customers before moving into the neighborhood.

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Correct me if I'm wrong. But Spartan Foods wants to do that new Family Fare on 7 mile to replace the supermarket next door to the old Handy Andy. On that note, why not buy the old Handy Andy and turn it into a new supermarket? There's got to be at least 70,000 sq. ft. of space in there. That's more than enough space to make a very nice store that would give Meijer a run for its money. Also in most cases, its cheaper to remodel an existing structure than build anew.

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I don't understand why they can't just buy someplace that is already developed in that area. There seems to be a lot of space that is not doing much of anything right now and which could use a facelift from a new developement rather than going out and developing land that has nothing on it right now. Plainfield has become such a Crap Avenue in the past 10-15 years...so many developements just sitting empty or barely getting buy surrounded by vast fields of asphalt!

Instead of paving paradise...build on the pavement!

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I have been hoping for weeks that someone would put this on the radar screen here at UP. GrDad is correct in stating that I have been in the midst of this from the start, which is why I really could not be the one to initiate the thread.

Given my role, my comments are already a major part of the public debate - and I really shouldn't expound at great length here regarding my views. Suffice to say, I have been pleading all the points already made here (among dozens of other reasons) in my effort to prevent this project from happening. The bottom line is that our township is severely handicapped by a few trustees who are tremendously out of touch with what constitutes appropriate land use.

I would humbly ask that all UPers who oppose this project simply find a way to express their opinion to the PF Twp Board. Common sense needs all the help it can get if it is to win the day...

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I agree with the planners who said the northland drive corridor is struggling as it is and theres no need for development at seven mile. I grew up a few miles from there and personally I've had enough of Andy Dykema destroying what "home" looked like to me. That whole cannonsburg/northland intersection used to have a big hill with tress and someone groomed the rockford "R" in flowers and now we will get to see into the backyards or 300+ condos. They moved cannonsburg road over just so he could fit more condos along the grand river. As far as seven mile is concerned I also agree with another posted comment about multiple grocery stores being within a few miles from there, theres just no need.

I had my doubts about plainfield township planners and thought they agreed to anything that would get them some money. For example, there was a nice property right next to the white pine trail on west river that was previously occupied by a house but they moved the whole thing, Plainfield Township Planners agreed to rezone it and now theres a storage facility on the corner of where my old neighborhood begins. I might sound irrational but I'm sure others have had their own neighborhoods rearranged for the worse.

If the planners keep this project at seven mile from happening I'd be impressed.

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I agree with a lot of the comments posted - it is a less than ideal location for the plan. I also grew up around the corner and it definately no longer looks like home. However, this new store would be the replacement for the Northland Drive store, not an additional one. Their current store is way out-dated, too small, and is being crowded out by the new retail in front. Their parking has been cut in half or better. They need to move, if not to 7 Mile, where? Where else do you put a store that size within reach of it's current customer base?

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I agree with a lot of the comments posted - it is a less than ideal location for the plan. I also grew up around the corner and it definately no longer looks like home. However, this new store would be the replacement for the Northland Drive store, not an additional one. Their current store is way out-dated, too small, and is being crowded out by the new retail in front. Their parking has been cut in half or better. They need to move, if not to 7 Mile, where? Where else do you put a store that size within reach of it's current customer base?

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Not only do they want to build a store at 7 Mile, there would be an entirely new shopping center like the one at 10 Mile/Northland, including outlot restaurant pads. One woman in support of the development was praising the added restaurants. Huh, say what? If there is anything that the East Beltline and Northland Drive do not need is more restaurants. :wacko:

What about this spot here? I drive by it and it looks like an abandoned heavy machinery place or an old factory (?) Dykema can sell them a bunch of gravel that he is hauling out of Cannonsburg and partially fill this gravel pit back in for Family Fare:

1812850140_eee13e64d9_o.jpg

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Ok, so where are we at in terms of process here? Is this thing back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration now?

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Ok, so where are we at in terms of process here? Is this thing back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration now?

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If it indeed was an industrial site, I wonder if would be eligible for Brown field credits or any type of "green "incentives? Depending on how much work is needed to prepare the land, it might be to Spartan Food's advantage.

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Alas, it seems my option to remain on the sidelines in this thread is a futile aspiration...

...

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Dumb question, Scott. What's the master plan say?

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Current Master Plan says residential. Draft of the revised Master Plan currently awaiting final approval says "mixed-use residential" with the proposed narrative describing mixed densities of residential - - nothing about commercial. This was one of the findings supporting our original recommendation for denial of the Spartan project.

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The proposed master plan has been in "proposed" status for some time. It has a section that focuses on this site alone. It is proposed to be "mixed residential", and specifically calls out commercial as "undesirable".

excerpt: "...may experience pressure for highway commercial development that would undermine the character of the area. This would not be desirable as it would foster sprawling strip commercial patterns and unnecessarily compete with the existing commercial development to the south."

Either way, the current and proposed master plans do not support commercial in that location... it seems like the Township's mindset has been to keep commercial stuff south of the Gd. River.

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The proposed master plan has been in "proposed" status for some time. It has a section that focuses on this site alone. It is proposed to be "mixed residential", and specifically calls out commercial as "undesirable".

excerpt: "...may experience pressure for highway commercial development that would undermine the character of the area. This would not be desirable as it would foster sprawling strip commercial patterns and unnecessarily compete with the existing commercial development to the south."

Either way, the current and proposed master plans do not support commercial in that location... it seems like the Township's mindset has been to keep commercial stuff south of the Gd. River.

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Correct me if I'm wrong. But Spartan Foods wants to do that new Family Fare on 7 mile to replace the supermarket next door to the old Handy Andy. On that note, why not buy the old Handy Andy and turn it into a new supermarket? There's got to be at least 70,000 sq. ft. of space in there. That's more than enough space to make a very nice store that would give Meijer a run for its money. Also in most cases, its cheaper to remodel an existing structure than build anew.

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As for next steps, the Planning Commission and the Township Board met in a combined workshop setting this past Tuesday evening - and the Planning Commission (especially myself) expounded at great length why we recommended denial of this project. While our arguments did not seem to significantly alter some of the existing opinions of the Trustees, I remain hopeful that we can convince one or ideally two Trustees to change their view. This is all it would take to change the outcome.

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Scott, another stooopid question.

What's the existing sewer & water service in that area? Will this development require an extension or an upgrade?

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That site currently has both water and sewer. I don't know about the capacity for what is there now.

I currently think this project will not go forward. The Planning Commission has already recommended denial, and the Twp board is split. Add to that a vocal group of citizens on the west side of Northland who are dead set against this.

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That site currently has both water and sewer. I don't know about the capacity for what is there now.

I currently think this project will not go forward. The Planning Commission has already recommended denial, and the Twp board is split. Add to that a vocal group of citizens on the west side of Northland who are dead set against this.

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Don't mean to burst anyone's bubble as they armor up for the battle... but all these questions have been raised - especially the planning/land use issues.

The last meeting between the PC and Board actually had a Trustee (in what some could call a very condescending tone) informing the PC that while they may be responsible for examining and recommending planning matters - it was the Board's responsibility to consider economic and tax-base issues (which that Trustee clearly felt were far more important than land use issues). Fact is, this isn't going to create much of an increased tax-base if it's merely replacing (re-locating) existing commercial capacity. The PC Chairperson went to great length to remind the Trustee that this project would have a devastating effect on the existing commercial in the township - but this apparently fell on deaf ears.

The 3 Mile and 4 Mile scenarios were also raised - and Spartan continues to insist that the closing of their Northtown store was driven by their customer base. Many expressed disagreement with that stance - but Spartan appears very willing to ignore common sense in defense of their own "statistics" based on data they have yet to share in detail. It's like the "70 percent of Family Fare customers live north of the river" - nothing concrete has ever been presented to verify that claim. Of course, this would then seem to argue that they don't need a store at 3 Mile and EBL... but I guess it doesn't need to make sense in their book?

As for Spartan "anticipating" future growth in this area - that idea is being debunked as we speak. As part of Plainfield's Master Plan review process currently underway, we have uncovered a heap of data that shows the rate of growth coming to a near stop in not only Plainfield Township, but in most townships in Kent County. We've had a total of about 40 housing starts this year across the entire township. Only 13 new (never lived in before) residences have been sold north of the Grand River in 2007 so far. That is far from what I would call a significant growth pattern. What little growth might seem to be present is actually from natural growth via offspring, Plainfield has nearly immeasurable migration coming into the township at this point. I've stated this repeatedly in the presence of Spartan in hopes they would at least ponder the questionable wisdom of their strategy - and it does not seem to matter.

Truth is, I think Spartan's strategy to paint the township into a corner on this issue has also painted themselves into a corner - where they feel they have no other option than this proposed site. Myself, I'd be willing to consider areas near Jupiter and West River (north side of river) if the desire is to serve residents north of the river - because the Jupiter corridor would help a new store continue to serve the areas south of the river. Goodness knows West River and Jupiter are well suited to the traffic this store would bring. Add to this the massive in-fill activity that will eventually start to happen as the Coit Ave gravel pits are developed for residential... and we're starting to build a decent argument for having a grocery store along the Jupiter/Coit/West River corridor that straddles both sides of the river.

Bottom line? Growth just isn't happening in PF Twp - and the national housing crisis and Michigan's faltering economy and tax legislation are certain to keep that trend from correcting itself any time soon. As I stated earlier this week in a Township mtg: We're going to review our Master Plan at least two more times before any sort of significant growth pattern might reappear (and that would be a period of 10-12 years).

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