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Fire barn plan draws reaction

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:19 PM

The planning commissioners expressed concerns about noise, traffic and congestion at the proposed 2-acre village site that stretches from Fruitport Road east to the Burger King restaurant. They also voiced concerns about the number of parking spaces presented in preliminary sketches if a township hall were to be part of the plans.

Several commissioners suggested other locations may be more desirable for the municipal building than the northeast corner of Fruitport Road and M-104.

However, Gallagher said the township considers the site centrally located and an ideal location to consolidate the current fire houses on 148th Avenue and at 106 S. Buchanan St. in the village.

The current fire barn on 174th Avenue on the west side of the township would remain.

The township purchased the two parcels last summer for $390,000. But that purchase is part of the rub. Village Council members and planning commissioners expressed frustration last summer that township officials did not consult with them before acquiring the property.

The land is currently zoned for residential use. In order for the township to use it for a fire barn, it would have to be rezoned for municipal use.

“I'm really disappointed the township didn't approach the Planning Commission before actually purchasing the property,” Planning Commission Chairwoman Christine Miller said to township officials Wednesday night. “I think it would have been really nice to hear from you guys ahead of time instead of hearing rumors.”

Miller also expressed reservations about summer traffic on M-104 and the feasibility of emergency vehicles pulling onto such a busy road.

Gallagher said he has not yet requested permission from the Michigan Department of Transportation for a curb cut on M-104, since he wanted to make sure village officials were on board with the site's intended use.

Gallagher said if the village shoots down the plan, the township would resell the property.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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