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Self-Storage Project in Rural Michigan Awaits Planning Approval Amid Public Opposition


A revised proposal for a self-storage project in Lyndon Township, Mich., is awaiting approval from the local planning commission, which tabled a vote for a second straight month Thursday night. As reason for the delay, the commission cited the township planning consultant's need for review.

About 80 people attended the meeting at Township Hall to hear what changes had been made for the planned facility on a 7-acre site. The source estimated about 12 of the people were project supporters. A previous meeting drew 2.5 hours of public comment, much of which opposed the project, and inspired the developers to revise the proposal.

The revision includes self-storage buildings, an office and a manager’s residence at 9750 Stofer Road. The project received a zoning variance, as it would be located in a rural residential district.

To approve, the planners must agree the facility will be “designed, constructed, operated and maintained so as to be harmonious and appropriate in appearance with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity, and that the use will not change the essential character of the area in which it is proposed,” according to the general standards of the township’s zoning ordinance.

Chairman Leon Moore told the source the board received the revised proposal two days before the meeting, and the township's planning consultants did not have enough time to review and comment on the changes.

About 40 people spoke, and opponents expressed concerns about issues such as increased traffic, light pollution, possible environmental contamination from surface run-off, increased crime and the possibly of lowered property values. Proponents highlighted its economic benefits for the area, including added tax revenue and managed growth.

Ronny Hamama, one of the project's leaders and owner of the adjacent North Lake Party Store and a gas station, addressed concerns, including a fear of increased crime in the area. “We’ve changed the site plan to be more harmonious," he said. "We’ve added more buffers and trees and it will be a nice fit and go well in the area.”

Hamama also told those who were concerned about an increase in crime in the area, “I believe it will be a crime deterrent,” adding that there will be a 6-foot fence around the site as well as 24-hour surveillance and an operator on site. “It will be like a jail without all the inmates,” he said.

A traffic study showed that there would be very little additional traffic or noise, Hamama told the source. As for lighting, he said it would be "wall-mounted and shine down."

Hamama also addressed concerns about what might happen if the facility went bankrupt by giving planning commissioners a feasibility study that showed there was a need for a facility of this type in the area, despite the fact there are similar facilities in nearby Dexter and Chelsea.

Architect Peter Stuhlreyer of Designhaus of Rochester, Mich., which specializes in designing self-storage facilities, said, “From south to north, you will see a form, you’ll just see a barn and the rest of the building will be buried in a berm. It won’t be an eyesore."

Engineer Terry Baker said in the new design, the front building was shortened by 16 feet and the remaining buildings were shortened by 10 feet. “A buffer was extended all the way around, and there are two rows of staggered trees.” He added that any run-off would go into an infiltration basin that’s designed to hold “two 100-year storms, back-to-back,” which would protect the ground water.

Hamama said he has a petition containing 400 supporters’ signatures, including 100 from residents in Dexter and 100 from residents in Lyndon Township.

The issue will be revisited at 7 p.m. on April 12 at Lyndon Township Hall.


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