Menards store: Planners approve rezoning request for Scio Township store
Menard Inc. is one step closer to building a 162,000-square-foot home improvement store on Jackson Road just west of Ann Arbor.
The Scio Township Planning Commission voted 6-0 Monday night to approve a rezoning request for a 62-acre site on the southeast corner of Jackson and Staebler Roads, just west of the Meijer store at Jackson and Zeeb. Commissioner Celeste Novak was absent from the meeting.
Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com
Menards is under contract to purchase the site from property owners Mel Vanderbrug and Don Colone. The property — also known as the former Farmer Grant land — is a portion of a 165-acre site that previously was eyed for development as part of The Village at Honey Creek.
The land was conditionally zoned for that project, and Menards requested to rezone the 62-acre site that fronts Jackson Road to straight general commercial.
The request — which the township first considered at its April 23 meeting — passed with little discussion among the commissioners.
Township Planner Doug Lewan said the few conditions the planning staff has, such as issues related to sewer service, can be addressed when Menards submits site plans for the project.
At the same time, the commissioners voted 5-1 to revert the conditional zoning for the remainder of the property back to its original designation: general agriculture.
The reversion was necessary, Lewan said, because the conditions of The Village at Honey Creek development cannot now be met.
“With the Menards land out of the picture, some of the phases of the original development are no longer possible,” Lewan said. “Our zoning ordinance is pretty specific on what we are able to do at this point we are to revert the zoning back to its original designation.”
Dana Dever, a local attorney representing the Grants — who still own some acreage on the site behind the Menards property — said he has people interested in a residential development for the Grants’ portion of the property.
If the site is reverted back to general agriculture, he’s concerned about the time and cost involved in rezoning the property again.
“We are attempting to find an alternative path that would, in essence, preserve what’s there,” he said. “Rather than going to agriculture, can you preserve the portions of multi-family residential zoning that are relevant and practical?” he asked.
Lewan said for Dever and his clients to rezone the property for a residential development — which they have already requested to do — it would only require they submit a conceptual plan, not a full site plan.
“They have the option to request a conditional rezoning, and for a conditional rezoning, we do not require a full site plan, which would be somewhat expensive,” Lewan said. “We need, basically, a concept plan.”
Both the Menards rezoning request and the revert-back zoning will now go before the Scio Township Board of Trustees.
If the Menards rezoning request is approved, the applicant will still have to get special land use approval for the site, and then address issues such as the impact to neighboring communities, Lewan said.
Although site plans for the Menards store are still in preliminary stages, the store would likely only account for 16 of the 62-acres the company is looking to purchase. The rest is expected to be used for open space, buffering and other developments, such as restaurants or a small medical complex.
The Wisconsin-based company, which has 262 locations in 13 states, including nine locations in Michigan, filed a rezoning request with Pittsfield Township in 2010 to build a store at 4700 Carpenter Road.
The Pittsfield Township Planning Commission voted to deny the rezoning request from light industrial to commercial, and the Board of Trustees then voted to accept the recommendation.
After the request was denied, Menards confirmed it would continue to search for a location in Washtenaw County.
The company is also currently looking to build stores in Warren, Livonia and Kalamazoo County, and is in various stages of approval for rezoning requests and site plans for those stores.