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Posted on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Menards: Scio Township planners consider request for Jackson Road store

By Lizzy Alfs


A vacant piece of land on the corner of Jackson and Staebler roads could soon be home to a Menards store.

Lizzy Alfs |

Scio Township Planning Commission considered a conditional use request Monday night for a Menards home improvement store proposed for the southeast corner of Jackson and Staebler roads.

The Wisconsin-based retailer wants to build a 162,000-square-foot store on a portion of the 165-acre site known as the former Farmer Grant land.

Menards is under contract to purchase 62 acres of the property from Mel Vanderbrug and Don Colone.


Menards applied for a conditional use permit to build a store in Scio Township.

Source: Facebook

“We have been working for some time with the property owner,” Menards representative Tom O’Neil told the planning commissioners. “We’ve been through the rezoning process and we’re, at this point, requesting conditional use and approval.”

In June, Menards received unanimous approval from the Scio Township Board of Trustees to rezone the property — which was conditionally zoned in 2009 when it was targeted for development as part of a $100 million mixed-use project that was never built. The land is now zoned straight commercial.

Because Menards is a large-scale retail establishment, the company also needs a conditional use permit to build the store.

No comments were made during the public hearing portion of the planning commission meeting Monday night. The commissioners were generally supportive of the project, although they had some minor concerns.

“This is a good use,” said commissioner Allison Arscott.

Township planner Doug Lewan added: “Generally speaking, a large-scale retail establishment in this particular location, as long as they can address some of the concerns (the staff report) raised, we have no real issue with Menards in this location. We think this is actually a good location.”

The Menards store would only use about 1/3 of the site, which would leave room for additional development. O’Neil said Menards typically solicits proposals from retailers, restaurants and financial institutions on its outlot properties around the state.

“We look at who is not in the area, and then reach out to them to see if they’re interested,” he said.

He said plans for the Scio Township store include two access ways off Jackson Road and one off Staebler. He said Menards is in discussions with the Washtenaw County Road Commission for a signal light at the westernmost access way on Jackson. Plans call for 463 parking spaces.

Lewan said before a conditional use permit is granted, he would like more information on how the outlots will be developed. He said if no ancillary development occurs, the site might not adhere to the township’s master plan.

“No more than 50 percent of parking can be contained in front of the building,” he said. “If outlots were never built and this was open space…it would not meet our requirement.”

He also noted that the applicant will need to request to be incorporated into Scio Township’s sewer service district.

Arscott asked if Menards could incorporate any trails or small park-type areas into its plans, and also said she’s concerned about the impact on Honey Creek, which is located south of the 62-acre parcel.

“I would be especially interested in seeing some kind of possible condition here that the best stormwater practices be used along the south side of the development to protect the creek,” she said.

Scio Township Planning Commission is expected to vote on its recommendation for the the conditional use request at its Dec. 10 meeting. The request then requires approval from the Scio Township Board of Trustees.

O’Neil said Menards intends to submit site plans to the township once the company receives its conditional use permit. If approved, Menards is aiming for a late 2013 or early 2014 opening.

Menards has 270 locations in 14 states, including 22 stores in Michigan. The company is in various stages of planning and development for several Michigan stores.

The company tried — unsuccessfully — to enter the local market for years, including when Pittsfield Township voted to deny Menards’ rezoning request to build on Carpenter Road in 2010.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

It would be better if they built in Dundee. It is right off US23 and M-50. Halfway between Ann Arbor and Toledo. I have to drive to Jackson or S Toledo now. There is a huge difference between Menards and HD or Lowes. One thing everyone should be happy about is the fact that they feature products made in the USA. Another is all there rebates. I save a ton of money using them. Menards also has a wider variaty of products.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Amazing how each of these tax paying business do not wish to locate to the city- interesting


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Like where? What benefits would they receive, or are you talking about Detroit?

Elijah Shalis

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Also that is not a vacant piece of land. It looks like farm land. Need to need to expand the green belt to stop sprawl.

Elijah Shalis

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Their horrible "Save Big Money at Menards" commercials will come to this area.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3 p.m.

It' too close to Lowe's. Within a small number of years, one of them will fail. A vote by township planners to approve Menard's is a vote for a huge empty store that will be unusable by any other retail enterprises.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

We are NOT losing all our farmland. It is FAR from gone. You're losing farmland that's visible from 94 and Jackson road maybe. Look behind all the buildings on Jackson out that way and what do you see? Farmland. Jackson Road is an artery so it's going to be developed. Farmland! I doubt that land will be commercialized any day soon. As for having too many of these stores in one place...I, for one, like the variety and competition it offers. Take a look at Carpenter (or almost anywhere else there's a Lowes or a HD) typically where there's one you'll find the other. That's why HD was planning on building close to Lowes. It seems silly to me, but it obviously works for them.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

@justcurious: I worked there, and you have no idea what you're talking about. They closed because Scio taxed them at their highest potential value, which was commercial. That's right; all their farm land was taxed commercially. You want to complain about your taxes? Talk to them. Taxes, sucked the life out of their business. The Meijer going in down the road didn't help, either. There is a big push to buy local now that just wasn't popular in the late 1990s. The "old folks" had to all find jobs doing other work in the area, and have only retired in the last couple of months.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Blerg, Farmer Grants closed because the old folks retired and the second generation did't have what it took to keep it going. Most of the farms you see around here grow GMO corn and a lot of soy that we and the farm animals shouldn't be eating anyway. It's just subsidized by the government so they grow it.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

I'm pretty sure this is an exact example of losing farmland, specifically Farmer Grant's, to a big box store. So yes, it is a sad example of the loss of family agriculture. If you're familiar with Scio tax structure, it killed the possibility of family farms located close to commercial opportunities back in the late 1980s.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

Correction from last post...should have been: Also not representative of the Menards I have shopped at in Jackson.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Looking forward to it!! Jackson is just too far to drive now for their advertised "deals". (As a side note -- I see an ad in my newspaper every single Sunday from Menard's. I rarely get one from Lowe's. Wonder if that will change?) I think the competition will be good. And both stores carry far more than lawn and garden supplies or tools or farm supplies. Can't wait for the "opening day" specials!!


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Two people have commented that Menards' product line is just like Lowes and Home Depot. It's not. In fact, I find the whole Menards experience very different than the other two. Customer service is better and product displays are better. And to the other who suggested Menards over near Ypsi Township...if I recall there was a Menards over that way some years ago. It was not a success. Also no representative of the Menards I have shopped at in Jackson.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

I thought they already decided to build there? What's going on? Would love to see Menards on that property

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

You're right, they did already decide to build there. This is just part of the process - they already got the rezoning, now they need conditional use approval, then they will need site plan approval...then they can pull permits and build!

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

It is so close to Lowe's and so similar in it's product offerings it seems a little redundant to have it where they plan. Do we really need two home improvement stores so close to one another? If they are looking for outbuilding tenants, how about a Kentucky Fried Chicken or Red Lobster?


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

hey fat bill,home depot was looking at sites on zeeb rd. north of 94.not at this site. why do we need another business like this? theres already a lowes,a meijers,a weingards, and a tractor supply plus.what are they gonna offer that can't be found elsewhere? scio is turning jackson ave into another washtenaw ave. pretty soon it will be bumper to bumper traffic from dawn to sun down or longer!!!! we don't need them!

Rod Johnson

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Home Depot was looking at a site farther east on Jackson. I think you're thinking of Costco, which was looking at some Road Commission property on Zeeb. It was a pretty poorly thought out proposal and was rightly turned down.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Menards product line is very different that Lowes and Home Depot. Their customer service --at least in Jackson--is a lot better as well.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Great to see this kind of development in Scio ... Just wish Scio Farms would redevelop!


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

@'s a mobile home community and snooty Scio folks don't like to be associated with it, although it's a nice well kept community.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

What is wrong with Scio Farms?


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

I don't care much for all the development west of Zeeb Rd. It won't be long until our farm lands will be gone.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Scio is pretty determined to keep commercial development in the Jackson Road corridor. The rest of the township is pretty much untouched. (Of course, every time the township actually acts to protect its own zoning, a half dozen commenters here pipe up with pro-development rants. Development is always good until it's your neighborhood that's feeling the impact.) Anyway, this was Farmer Grant's before. No farmland was harmed in the making of this big box store.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

" our " farm lands ? Little reality check if YOU don't own it it is not " our " farm lands


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

@Arboriginal: I'm pretty sure Farmer Grant's, the business previously on this site, grew food for families and area restaurants for over 50 years until Meijers moved down the road. Hello big box! Good bye small business!


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Farmlands that grow....feed corn?

music to my ear

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

it( the money) provides stability for the farmer and his family, but true I remember 15 years ago it was all open field .Manchester, is preserving their farm land and small businesses by not even letting a Mac Donald s go in their town. but they are getting a family dollar only because it will serve their people well But I do wish Menard's would come out here.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

I just wish they would have been allowed to build on Carpenter Road. Of course, the other big box stores probably would not have liked that very much.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

For years people on the west side of Ann Arbor had to drive over to Carpenter for the big box home improvement stores. There is no good way to get there either. We were happy to see Lowe's come over here and feel the same about Menards.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

We shop at Menards. We frequently drive to the one in Jackson. A closer store would be a good thing. It would also provide some competition for Lowes.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

"Literally next door" is actually a half mile apart. But OK. It's unclear to me how much proximity really drives competition in these national chains. Aren't prices set nationally by corporate headquarters?


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

In Pittsfield there is a Lowe's and a Home Depot literally right next door to each other. There's obviously plenty of business to go around.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

@Barzoom here's a question: some people are asking why we need a Menards and Lowe's in the same area. For you, is there a big difference?

Fat Bill

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Amazing how the attitude changes when times are lean. A few years ago Home Depot wanted to build in the same location; township planners resisted as there were already enough big box stores in the area...

Rod Johnson

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Yeah, not the same location at all, and much less acceptable to the neighborhood.

Blue Marker

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Actually, Home Depot had secured the American Broach location east of Zeeb but sold the property once the economy slowed way down.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Ypsi Township would welcome Menards.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Any specific location around Ypsi that you think a Menards location would work CycleGirl? To be honest, I'm surprised there has yet to be a location built on Michigan Ave in Canton over by the newer WalMart and Target locations.