A unique type of zoning district that had been proposed for a piece of land in Marion Township did not receive much support from the municipality’s Board of Trustees.

The township’s Board of Trustees reviewed the proposal Thursday night that sought to establish a Special Purpose District on a piece of property located on D-19. Supervisor Bob Hanvey says the proposal was an attempt to create a zoning district that would allow for property uses that were somewhat compatible, but not officially allowed in any other existing district under township ordinance.

Hanvey tells WHMI the property owners pursued the idea of a Special Purpose District because they had hoped to use their land for a number of things. Hanvey says the property’s owners were pursuing a project that would include an agricultural type of store or farmer’s market, a small restaurant, a riding stable and maintain a residence on the land. The township does not currently have a district within their zoning ordinance that allows for all of those uses.

Trustee Dan Lowe felt the proposed district had too much leeway and would allow for “anything, anywhere”. He also said he was “done” with the conversation upon hearing that Hanvey and the township’s planner met with the property owners to help them draft the proposal. Hanvey feels what the owners wanted to create on their property would be beneficial to the township and said “the wording needed to make it happen didn’t exist in the current ordinance”, as an explanation for why he met with them.

Trustee Les Andersen says he was “disheartened that the property owners were having discussions about the proposal with certain board members but not the full board”. Andersen alleged that Hanvey had had several private meetings with the township’s planner and the property owners to draft the proposal, and that “money was spent without board approval”.

Hanvey says he was trying to help the owners figure out what to present to the board that would allow them to move forward with their project while complying with the township’s ordinance. He says he doesn’t think there’s been anything out of the ordinary in the process at all.

Andersen said he didn’t want to discuss the issue further because he could not support the proposal and felt it was brought to the board in the wrong manner. He ultimately motioned to stop pursuing the Special Purpose District as presented, which the majority of the board agreed to in a 5-2 vote. Hanvey and Treasurer Duane Stokes were the two board members to opine. (DK)