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Posted on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township land listed for sale after Planning Commission denies Billy's Bagels site plans

By Tom Perkins

Two parcels of land along a busy Ypsilanti Township corridor are now for sale after plans for a drive-thru bagel shop at the site fell through.

Billy Salamey purchased the land with the intention of building Billy’s Bagels there, but the township’s Planning Commission unanimously opposed the project in October because of a proposed drive-thru window. Salamey said he doesn’t think he has a viable business without the window and opted not to open the shop. Instead he put the land on the market.

Billy's Bagles.jpg

The property as it looked last fall, after an abandoned mechanic's shop was demolished.

Tom Perkins | For

The parcels, 1845 Whittaker Road at Stony Creek, are being sold as one .925 acre site and broker Terrance Bixler of Farmington-based Thomas Duke Company listed it at $600,000. The parcels are zoned for local business and office service, and could accommodate 3,040 square feet of office or retail space.

Bixler said he already has received interest from a financial services group and a medical group. He called the spot one of the best pieces of commercial land for sale in Ypsilanti Township because of its location.

“There aren’t that many corners available around there,” Bixler said. “It’s near a rapidly redeveloping section of Ypsilanti, there’s great new development along Whittaker Road, and the combination of location, a hard corner and good quality development going on gives it a lot of potential.”

Bixler said there is an “outside chance” the township might allow a drive thru business like a bank to open, but he said township officials have made it “very, very clear they don’t want a fast food restaurant at that corner.”

Salamey said it wasn’t clear through the planning process that officials would prohibit a drive-thru window at his bagel shop, and he said he was caught by surprise when the Planning Commission didn’t approve the site plans. He said township officials originally told him the shop could include a drive thru window.

Township Planning Coordinator Joe Lawson disagreed and said Salamey was only told the township would explore the idea of including the window. Township attorneys also stated in October that a restaurant with a drive thru window is inconsistent with the master plan and would be illegal without rezoning.

Salamey - who also owns Budget, Stadium and Glen Ann Towing - said he already invested $300,000 in the properties. He purchased one parcel for $60,000 and entered into a land contract for $200,000 for the other parcel. He also spent money clearing the land, demolishing an abandoned mechanic shop that had been on the corner for over 10 years and moving through the pre-development planning process.

Salamey said he believes his business wouldn’t survive on that strip without a drive-thru to give him a competitive advantage. The township’s refusal to allow him to put in a business he estimated would have employed six people and contributed $10,000 to $12,000 in taxes annually was baffling, he said.

“In a tough economy like this, you think they would embrace somebody’s idea of opening something on that corner that bring jobs,” Salemy said.

Lawson said the township began developing its master plan in 2005 and adopted it in 2007. He underscored that, during the process, the public "favored businesses that were not auto-oriented" along that corridor.

Lawson said the Planning Commission's rejection of a proposal that included a drive-thru was about "planning and land use and adhering to a long-term vision."

"It would be a poor practice to approve a use that was inconsistent with the adopted master plan due to a relatively short-term and temporary issue, such as the current economic climate," Lawson said. "The township must stick by its goals and objectives and adhere to the master plan, which is a 20-year vision for the betterment of our entire community developed with careful deliberation, input and participation from our community."



Tue, Feb 22, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Recently, I sent a screen shot to a few fellow Ypsi residents of the home page of There were four headlines. 3 of them were about Ypsi township. Two of them were murders or death-related. And the third Ypsi headline was about the TownHouse complex that should be condemned. These politicians should be forced to live in that complex until they realize that turning away businesses like this, because it doesn't fit their fairy-tale vision of where Ypsi should be, makes the city an unfriendly place to do business.


Tue, Feb 22, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

I live down the street from that corner as well and agree I would've loved the bagel store - but the auto traffic is heavy there as is. I saw the aftermath of what looked like a serious accident there a few months ago; getting in and out of the Kroger plaza is dangerous (when are they going to open the exits behind the Kroger plaza?) and, in spite of the frequent bike and pedestrian traffic there, the crosswalks are dangerous to use because the left -turning cars cut across them while the walk signal is on. There are already traffic problems at that intersection that won't be fixed by denying the bagel store permit - is there anything in the zoning plan that will address these problems? It's disappointing that the township couldn't find a way to improve the traffic issues while working with a desirable business.

Sandy Castle

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township has so many businesses vying to open here that we don't need just anybody. LOL...utter sarcasm intended.

average joe

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

...the public "favored businesses that were not auto-oriented" along that corridor. There is several fairly new "auto-oriented" businesses within 1/4 mile on this proposed business. Krogers & CVS pharmacy, three banks with drive-thru's... Why the sudden change of what the Township has been okaying?


Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

First off, that corner is located at Whittaker Rd. and S. Huron River Drive (not Stoney Creek). Second, get with it Ypsilanti Township! Wow, it sounds like this man was lead to believe that he could put the business there witha drive thru...but it was just a way for Ypsilanti Township to get him him to clean up the corner and get rid of the old building, that was an eyesore. Way to go, Ypsilanti Township planning commission, you did it, you fooled him and got him to clean up the corner, mission complete!


Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

If that is really what happened, yes, that stinks. I think this may be a he said vs. he said, because I haven't heard of any legal fight being initiated by Salamey. But I also know that the township is a nightmare to deal with. I just wish there was another parcel that somehow would meet his needs - it sounds like it would be very well received.


Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

The costs would be staggering. By allowing this business, which would require rezoning, would then open up the flood gates for the mobile home park developers that were denied permits based on this defense. You can't have it both ways people.

Go Blue

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Can we say 'foolish?' Why on earth would the township pass on something that would be attractive, ehnance the commercial area and generate more tax dollars? Sounds like a very unwise decision and those that denied the request for a drive through should immediately rethink their decision and let the owner get on with construction. It will only benefit the township as tax revenues will begin sooner instead of much later. Exactly what that area is lacking and needs.


Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

I live e down the street and a bagel shop with a drive through is EXACTLY what I would want there! I am shocked the township wants to build another bank. That would make tree you could throw a stone at from the corner. That does not excite me about how my elected officials are making decisions. We have NOTHING except McDonald's around here and a locally owned option would have been great!

Steve Pierce

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

Billy, Come build your locally owned Bagel Shop on Water Street. - Steve