Confusion over community survey in Sylvan Township
There is a survey that is circulating around Sylvan Township asking for public comment on the Pierce Road rezoning. It’s meant for township residents, but township hall wants to make one thing clear about it.
It’s not from them.
After some confusion and questions connected to the survey, Sylvan Township Supervisor Kathleen Kennedy reached out to The Sun Times News (STN) in attempt to clear up any issues.
Kennedy said by email, “I would like to clarify that this survey is not authorized or sanctioned by Sylvan Township.”
She said some residents came to the township hall this week (Aug. 1-5), asking how to access the survey, so she would like to make clear "it is not our survey."
The survey in question was actually posted recently on the STN website under the title “Sylvan Township Board to Vote on Pierce/Garvey Rezoning Proposal - Share your Opinions.”
Township resident Kevin Townsend posted this as a citizen contributor. He also sent this in as a “Letter to the Editor” in a recent print edition of STN.
STN notes that these type of posts/letters “expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The Sun Times News management or staff.”
The post on the STN website reads:
The Sylvan Township Board will be meeting soon to vote on a proposal to rezone 55 acres at Pierce and Garvey Rds from agricultural (low density housing) into multi-family residential which will lead to a high-density housing development plan by the developer and, possibly, other unknown development that he has not disclosed. Based on this developer's other work, these units will not be considered "affordable" by the average Chelsea resident. It's also worth noting, the Board will be working off a legally outdated Master Plan. In addition, there have been no traffic safety studies examining the impact of this type of high density development on an already dangerous area of roads that is also a school bus route.
Please take the time to answer these two short polling questions, and I will make sure your opinions are heard at the upcoming meeting. Scan this QR code using your phone to go right to the poll. Your responses are anonymous. Thank you for your time and input!”
STN asked Kennedy where things stand with the rezoning proposal.
As of now, she said the planning commission recommended denying the rezoning request at their July meeting. She said the matter will now go before the Township Board, likely in September. It was on the Planning Commission agenda in June, then tabled until July.
Prior to the June meeting, and which is typical by township hall, officials did in compliance with the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, published and requested public comment at the June 23, 2022, Planning Commission meeting.
Kennedy said “We always welcome comment from citizens on any topic at any public meeting.”
As to the letter/post, Kennedy said “Also, I will say that the letter to the editor and the survey language appear biased.”
“You can see in the minutes (planning commission minutes) that our attorney Rob Thall advised the aging Master Plan is not expired,” Kennedy said. “This tells me it is not illegal to work under it, while changes are considered. I understand frustration, but we need to work from a shared set of facts, not rumors or speculations, those only grow mistrust.”
For some insight into this issue, here are the June minutes from the planning commission meeting: https://sylvantwpmi.documents-on-demand.com/document/ae952cee-9f12-ed11-a386-000c29a59557/Planning%20Commission%20Minutes%20June%2023,%202022.PDF