The Sterling Heights City Council voted Feb. 6 to introduce a rezoning proposal that would affect an estimated 12 acres of land that belonged to the former Liberty Park of America sports complex.

The Sterling Heights City Council voted Feb. 6 to introduce a rezoning proposal that would affect an estimated 12 acres of land that belonged to the former Liberty Park of America sports complex.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Rezoning proposed for former Liberty Park land

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 21, 2018

The possible rezoning of industrially zoned property east of Mound Road and north of 14 Mile Road could produce a new development at what used to be a sports complex.

During a Feb. 6 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to introduce a conventional rezoning of a section of land on the former Liberty Park of America sports complex site from M-1 light industrial to M-2 heavy industrial.

According to City Planner Chris McLeod, “conventional” means that no site plan is tied to the application. Ashley Capital LLC is the applicant.

According to McLeod, the property sought by the applicant currently contains both M-1 and M-2 zonings. The total property is estimated at 53.9 acres, though the part affected by the rezoning is just under 12 acres, he said.

But if a developer wanted to use the entire property, they could only put light industrial there unless a zoning change happened first, McLeod said.

“The city’s policy is that any property that is split-zoned basically has to act as the lesser-intense of the two zoning districts,” he explained.

McLeod said the estimated 12 acres, if rezoned, would become M-2. He described the applicant’s conceptual site proposal, which he added is not binding.

“It’d be for a 550,000-square-foot speculation building for industrial purposes,” he said. “There would also be a 7-or-so-acre build-to-suit site along the Mound Road frontage. The existing industrial building at the southwest corner of the site would also remain as part of this concept plan.”

McLeod said the city’s master plan recognizes the affected area as industrial, but it doesn’t differentiate between light or heavy industrial.

Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko wanted to know whether the property has already been sold or whether the sale is contingent on a rezoning. She learned that the sale did go through.

The land’s last owner was Liberty Park of America, which shut down last year. It had featured softball fields, a sports dome, and basketball and sand volleyball courts.

This is not the first time city officials have discussed the former Liberty Park property. In January 2017, the Sterling Heights Planning Commission voted to recommend the construction of a FedEx truck distribution facility in that spot via applicant Setzer Properties. However, that project never came to fruition.

Mayor Michael Taylor emphasized that the Feb. 6 vote was just an introduction, not an adoption. The newly introduced rezoning proposal will still need to be formally adopted by the City Council at a future council meeting to take any effect.

“We will have a couple of weeks to look at this and see if there is anything that comes up,” Taylor said. “But it seems pretty straightforward, and we understand that this is going to be, and we want it to be, developed industrial.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.