State eyes Robinson acres

State transportation officials are hoping a Robinson Township zoning variance allows their new highway project to go through, but some residents are upset with the proposal.
Alex Doty
Jul 23, 2012


The township's Zoning Board of Appeals will be discussing a pair of requests from the Michigan Department of Transportation when it meets at the end of the month.

“I have four applications, but only two of them will be heard July 31," Township Zoning Administrator Kate Kremmel said.

Kremmel said the state is requesting portions of several properties in order to place the right of way for the M-231 project along the 120th Avenue corridor.

“What they’re proposing is purchasing a portion of property they would need, which would be smaller than is currently allowed,” Kremmel said.

Based on the MDOT application, 13110 Woodbriar Lane would be reduced in size from 10.04 acres to 4.85 acres, and 13046 Woodbriar would be reduced from 10.04 acres to 4.04 acres.

“This is part of MDOT's standard process — per state and federal regulations — for property acquisition," said the state agency's spokesman, John Richard. "When land is purchased for right of way purposes, partial parcels are left over that may or may not conform to township zoning regulations. When a partial parcel is not conforming, we request a variance from the township.”

Richard said parcels, townships and property owners are all unique, so the stipulations for variance approvals can vary in each community.

M-231 will stretch from M-45 in Robinson Township north to the I-96/M-104/112th Avenue interchange in Crockery Township. A new bridge over the Grand River, M-104 improvements near the M-231 intersection, a new I-96 interchange at M-231, and new ramps at the I-96/112th Avenue interchange are included in the project.

Richard noted that it was too early to indicate whether or not what MDOT would do if the township's zoning board denied their requests.

“We'll cross that bridge if we come to it,” he said. “It's impossible to anticipate a township's conditions. There are just too many variables.”

Some of the property owners in the line of fire by the new road say they're frustrated.

“We’re looking and suggesting that the zoning board do not rubber-stamp their request,” said Mark Bohn, 13046 Woodbriar.

Bohn said the variance would significantly impact the size and value of his property, and the quality of life he said he enjoys in the township. He said approval of the MDOT requests would result in the removal of a pole barn and old horse barn on his property, and a neighboring homeowner’s pole barn would butt up against the M-231 right of way.

“That would save money, but at the expense of the freedoms we enjoy here,” Bohn said. “The state is requesting a zoning variance in order to not give us a full take. ... They’re really trying to shove that down our throats and we hope the zoning board recognizes that.”

Instead of a partial variance, Bohn said he would like to see the state buy him out completely, like they have with other parcels along the new highway.

Kathryn Kuck, chairwoman of the township zoning board, said there is currently no opinion yet formed about the requests.

“MDOT will be there to present their case, and anyone from the general public can comment,” Kuck said, adding people can also send letters in advance of the meeting regarding their opinion of the variance requests.

Kuck said after the case and comments are heard, the board will determine whether they think the variances should be granted.




Can't help but feel bad for these people. The state is trying to screw them by only buying part of their property and not all of it. The states says "well, we only need this much of it, and you can have the left overs that will sit right next to the highway." It is wrong, and I hope the township puts their foot down and says no. The state should have figured this out before hand, but i guess that is how our government operates these days.


State should buy it all or nothing. That is what they will leave these land owners with if they only buy a partial.


I could not imagine trying to sell a house on Woodbriar Lane right now...ugh!


People... Kathy Kuck is running for Twp Supv... watch how this shakes out...


It ought to be very Interesting indeed! KK running for Twp Supv. Watched that board over the years 2 of them have said at meetings that they do not like the "new world order" One said he is a strict constitutionalist. Does not like Grand Haven Townships police state - called it "Nazi-Ville" 2 board members talked about how stupid it is in Grand Haven Township and can't have a Chicken on a 1 acre parcel. How Grand Haven City they called "Little Berlin" This meeting is going to be good - rev those guys up !!


Something similar is happening with us on Lincoln St.
MDOT sat us down in April with a map of the project showing they were going to purchase our property totally due to the limited access needed. We were told by late summer we would be moving so we began throwing away, giving away and selling things at a loss to prepare for the move, then the appraiser said the "office buzz" was they would purchase a corner and maybe take out the trees in our front yard, move the well and put in this ridiculous serpentine driveway so after the appraiser did his thing he says they'd be in touch.
Here we are in late July and so far nothing, they don't answer phone messages or emails and won't tell us anything and the offer? the state has been a no-show for two appointments they set up with us taking time off work sitting there waiting for the "offer". This is slip shod and amateurish at best, is this our tax dollars at work? We are sick of the ordeal for sure!


I can't feel much sympathy for someone who purchased their home within a couple thousand feet of 120th within the last 20 years. M-231 (or some version of a US31 by-pass/bridge) has been discussed for too many years, and very seriously for the last 20. Briarwood was not there 20 years ago, so I don't feel for them. Either they didn't investigate the State's plan, or just thought it would never be in their back yard (literally). Nope, not feeling it. Wondering if the State can use Eminent Domain here in these cases? I imagine they will get what they want eventually.

Tri-cities realist

@43North, do you ever have sympathy for someone getting screwed by the govt, be it local, state, or fed? Of course the state is using eminent domain. I believe the real issue (if you would have read the entire article), is that the state, instead of paying fair market value for entire parcels of land, is trying to buy "just enough" land for the bypass, which renders some properties non-conforming, in other words making the remaining land virtually worthless. I am one of the first people to decry overspending by any govt entity. However, private landowners should be fairly compensated in cases of eminent domain. The state knew exactly how many parcels would be affected for each of the bypass proposals floated over the past 20+ years. Now that it is time to acquire the land, the state is trying to screw the landowners. Hopefully, Robinson Twp will side with its citizens, and help them get compensated for what they are rightfully owed. And I purchased land about 10 years ago in Robinson Twp in close proximity to the bypass (which I have since sold with full disclosure of the possible bypass). In those days, the current proposal was the bohemoth 4 lane limited access highway. The location of the proposed bypass has varied over the years, such that many more than those "within a couple thousand feet of 120th" could have been affected. Under your reasoning, nobody should have purchased a home in Robinson Twp in the last 20 years. That would have done wonderful things for the housing market there. As mentioned before, the issue is with the govt taking land without just compensation. And what about those people that have owned land in the area for more than 20 years? Should they be compensated more (or less) than those that bought in the last 20 years? As you can see, the time frame is irrelevant, the landowners, regardless of their tenure, need to be justly compensated. Oh how I wish you would have owned a home / land there for 30+ years. Would your opinion change then? My guess is that it would, which would show another level of hypocrisy.


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