“Once the township sells it then whoever buys it has the right to sell it to anybody else and as long as it’s within the zoning regulation whatever is allowed, then we lose control of what’s in our neighborhood,” Brianna said. “It doesn’t make any sense for it to be a business area. It’s clearly a zoning error that’s been in existence for several decades.”
All five members of the zoning commission voted against the zone change but seemed amenable to considering a zone change with conditions. Trustee Steve Schramm said when they were marketing the building their real estate agent told them it would be easier sell with fewer use restrictions. The neighbors are worried a gas station, convenience store or some other unsuitable business will come to that rural location.
“I think they (staff) are talking with the buyer to see if there is any way to work with B1 zoning with what he wants to do there or whether it would change his offer,” Schramm said adding he doesn’t want to upset the residents. “We can always withdraw it and kind of go back to the drawing board on the whole process.”
Some of the neighbors would like the township to create green space or a park on the property, Megan Zimmerman-Oostdijck wrote a letter to the trustees suggesting they use the historic site that once was the first train station be turned into a library branch or some other community amenity.
“Please RECONSIDER selling this corner,” she wrote. “Please let those of us, who truly love it, submit ideas for its best use for a real community space.”
Trustee Tom Farrell said the township rezoned the site when it planned to build the new administration center there to B-1, it was previously B-2 and M-1 so they are essentially bringing it back to it’s original zoning state, without the manufacturing option. Costly site preparation prompted trustees to back off the location. He said it would be “irresponsible” for the township to continue maintaining the building and “selling it is the right decision.”
Trustee Christine Matacic said she is keeping an open mind on the matter.