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A look out over the parking lot at North Creek Elementary School at the 720 McKinley Road, where a new Gretchen’s House is being proposed.
by Lonnie Huhman

By Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com

Potential development is expected to push Sylvan Township toward addressing its zoning code, which could include updates to it.

In her update as the township board’s liaison to the planning commission, township board trustee Cyndi Jabara said the planning commission is busy and development proposals have it thinking the township needs to take a good look at its zoning codes.

One proposal brought up was recently given by Gretchen’s House president and owner Gretchen Preston and Shannon Steinbach, director at the current Chelsea location. Jabara said they are hoping to set up a Gretchen’s House at a location near North Creek Elementary School, off of McKinley Road.

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Jabara said Gretchen’s have approached some of the homeowners in that area and a location has been proposed at 720 McKinley Road. She said the plan would be to have it be a daycare, after school and preschool program with drop off and be fully staffed. She said they like the location because it would be close to the school, so it would be ideal for everyone involved.

However, said there are some issues that need to be overcome to make the plan a reality. One issue is the property would require a special use permit from the township because it is in a zoning area, agricultural, that does not consider this type of use.

She said the lot size is smaller at .83 acres, so it would also need to be looked at.

The next possible development was brought up by of Kathy Keinath of Macon Engineering during public comment. She said she was representing the Feeney family trust, who owns two parcels at Ridge, Mushbach and Cavanaugh Lake roads. She read a statement from James Feeney that said in part the family holds the property in high regard and wants to help lead its development in the right direction for that area because it has been in the family for over 50 years.

She said the wetlands and their care is just one area that would be considered in its development. She said the family would like to know where their proposed development plan stands with the township because there has been no movement on it after the plan was first presented months ago.

Keinath said the plan would consider 20 acres with eight lots being built on them with six acres remaining undisturbed. The big issue is the development wants to create private roads, but at this time the township code does not allow that. She said their plan to develop the property meets the updated township master plan master for that area, so it’s their hope the township will revise the code to help make it a reality.

Jabara said the planning commission is asking the township board to put reviewing of road codes, especially the private road ordinance, on the list of things to do soon. Township officials said the codes are being reviewed by legal staff in preparation of township discussions.

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