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SG-W:/ Sylvan Twp Mobil Home park public hearing

I arrived 15 min late to the public hearing last night. The hearing was
attended by about 30 members of the public (28 men & two women), the 6
member Planning Commission (PC) (5  men, one woman), Mr. Fahaye [sp?]
--legal counsel to Sylvan Twp., a man beside Mr. Fahaye who held up a
schematic drawing of the 350 MH units on the 130 ac site, and three male MH
developers, who were petitioning to rezone the land from Ag to MH.  Perhaps
because I am male and 56 years old, I noticed that all males but one in the
room were as old or older than I am.  I heard the one younger (36?) man, a
resident of a subdivision near the petitioned parcel, say to the PC that
(1) Someone should do an environmental impact study of the proposed MH
park, (2) Siting the MH park beside his sub would reduce his property
values, and (3) Would the Twp pay for an attny to represent the subdivision
in a law suit against the MH developer? The PC chairman said he did not
think the Twp Board would use Twp funds for such purposes. The female PC
member noted that only 90-some acres were petitioned to be rezoned MH and
asked the MH developer where on the drawing the rest of the 130 ac parcel
was located. The man holding the drawing rotated the drawing 180 degrees,
then 90 degrees, and the MH developer said "There, just north of the park".
In response to her second question, the MH developer said that their
company owned 5 other parks, including one near Charlevoix and two in
Monroe county. No other questions were asked.
The PC chairman  closed the public comment period. There was no discussion
among PC members. The PC chairman then said that (1) The Twp has excellent
legal counsel from Mr. Fahaye, (2) Elected representatives DuRossette and
Hansen had told him there was nothing the Twp could do to stop this MH park
from being built, (3) The proposed park would have (according to the
developer) only 3.5 units per acre, not the 8/ac allowed "by the State",
(4) Although the Twp wanted only 150 MH units to meet "State requirements",
350 units was a lot better than 800-900 that other townships were getting,
(5) The Twp has no plan for MH development [Could that mean no ordinance
governing MH development?], and besides,  (6) This proposed MH park would
have "wide sidewalks".
The PC chairman then offered a motion to accept the petition to rezone the
acres to MH. He was interuppted by the attny, Mr. Fahaye, who said what he
was really trying to move was that the Twp would agree to rezone the parcel
of land from A-1 to MH upon the condition that the MH developer provides a
PUD plan acceptable to the Twp Board.  The PC quickly and unanamously
approved that motion. The MH developer said "Thanks" and sat down.
The entire public hearing lasted less than 30 minutes. Neither organized
public opposition nor apparent will by the PC to contest the petition was
evident at the hearing.  Also lacking was any mention of a regional
perspective, legal options, or any understanding of the impact the MH park
would have on taxes, schools, the environment , traffic density, or the
rural quality of life in Sylvan Twp. The ease with which the rezoning
petition passed amazed me.
Unless something changes, the park will be near I-94 at the interchange of
Old US-12 and I-94.

Bruce Manny

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