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| 3 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

A decision on the preliminary planned unit development application for 300 North Zeeb Road was postponed again by the Scio Township Planning Commission.

Called North Zeeb Commons, the proposal again went before the planning commission on Feb. 10 and again saw Scio Township planning commissioners asking the developer to take another look at adjusting the proposed plan.

The applicants/developers are Jeff Harshe and Greg Copp of MAVD in Ann Arbor with Tom Covert of Midwestern Consulting. The proposal wants to see nearly 30 acres of the northeast corner at Zeeb and the I-94 interchange developed into a mixed-use development with office, commercial, hospitality and residential.

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10 acres of the plan would be for commercial use while 17 would be for residential.

The property is zoned industrial and currently has a building located on it. The site is the former headquarters for University Microfilms, Inc.-later known as Bell + Howell, ProQuest, and National Archives Publishing. 

The developer is asking for a rezone to a PUD to give the plan some flexibility.

The Sun Times News was unable to attend the Feb. 10 meeting, but did follow up with township officials for an update.

Planning commission chair Alec Jerome said through email the PUD proposal, “was tabled unanimously to give the applicant additional time to go back and revise their proposal to address the concerns of the planning commission and address additional provided during citizen public comment.” 

“I would assume that they will meet with Carlisle Wortman (township consultant) and township officials to amend the proposal limiting deviations, addressing density, traffic and a myriad of other concerns that were voiced during the meeting,” Jerome said.

Township board trustee David Read also sits on the planning commission and during the township board meeting on Feb. 11 he gave an update on the proposal.

He said the developer came back with substantially the exact same plan, except for a few changes, such as the hotel going from five to four floors, and a dog run being added. He said it was slightly insulting to the residents who voiced concerns and township officials that the plan did not see more revisions.

The same concerns from the November meeting, which for neighboring residents range from light pollution, an increase in traffic and just too much density, were raised again at the Feb. 10 meeting, Read said.

He said all who spoke during the Feb. 10 public hearing seemed to be in favor of development on that site, but not in this form.

“This development is too dense,” Read said of the proposal.

He also noted there are no plans for any recreational options for the children that would live there, such as a clubhouse or playground.

In noting some of these things, Read said as the plan stands he wasn’t sure this is what the township wants developed at the location.

He said he was leaning toward rejecting the plan at the Feb. 10 meeting, but in the end he supported, like the rest of the planning commission, giving the developer another opportunity to go back and make some changes.

He said it’s, “now wait and see what happens” with the plan.

One concern raised by the planning commissioners, including Read, were the deviations. Read said the space between buildings/structures is just too close.

Deviations are when the applicant asks for permission in a PUD plan to deviate from certain details, such as setbacks, multi-family building separations and floor area ratio. Some of the deviations in this case have the developer wanting to decrease the setbacks and multi-family building separations while increasing the floor area ratio.

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