On a 6-1 vote, council denied a request by the township to rezone the land from single-family residential to public/semi-public, which would have paved the way for a new municipal complex at that corner.
Although some audience members at the council meeting spoke in favor of the project, many in the crowd applauded the decision.
Village President Jim MacLachlan was the only one to vote in favor of the rezoning. Other council members expressed concern about traffic and the suitability of a large building marking the entryway to the village.
The township’s preliminary plans called for an 18,800-square-foot township hall/fire station on the 2.4-acre site.
Councilman Mark Powers said he grew up in the Fruitport Road/Savidge Street neighborhood and, when he was a kid, used to mow the lawn on that corner for a neighbor.
“I can’t find it in my heart to say yes to the rezoning,” he said. “It doesn’t feel quite right to me.”
Councilman Bill Meyers said he’s looked at the master plan and studied the proposal from many angles.
“I’ve been all over the chart on this and I keep coming up with question after question,” he said. “I don’t think I have enough information.”
Carmen Avantini, the village’s planning consultant, said the municipal use would make a good transition between the gas station, fast-food restaurant and grocery store to the east and the residences to the north, west and south. He said other uses that could potentially occupy that site — such as office, fitness center or retail — could generate more traffic than a township hall and fire station.
Township officials have pinpointed that intersection as being centrally located, and say a fire station in that location would cut down on emergency response times and potentially save lives.
Township Supervisor John Nash said some Township Board members are upset with the village’s decision.
“With the temperament of township officials, I think it’s a good idea to take a little breath here,” he said. “Some of us talked after the meeting. I think we will look at the options. There’s a lot of options.”
Nash said putting “for sale” signs on the property they purchased two years ago is one of those options.
To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.