A request to increase the height of a proposed Meijer was denied by the Macomb Township Zoning Board of Appeals. The store would be near the northeast corner of 24 Mile and Hayes roads.

A request to increase the height of a proposed Meijer was denied by the Macomb Township Zoning Board of Appeals. The store would be near the northeast corner of 24 Mile and Hayes roads.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Parking reduced, height change denied for proposed Meijer in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published July 16, 2021


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The proposed development of a Meijer in Macomb Township brought many residents out to a recent meeting.

At the July 1 Macomb Township Zoning Board of Appeals, or ZBA, meeting, an item that garnered the most public attention dealt with parking and signage at the proposed Meijer.

The requests were to reduce the required parking spaces by 50 spaces, to increase building height from 25 feet to 36 feet and 2 inches, and to allow signs that exceed allowable quantity, area and height. The sign exception was postponed.

The land in question is at the northeast corner of 24 Mile and Hayes roads. Meijer could be built east of Comerica Bank, west of Bayberry Drive.

The closest grocery store is a Kroger at 23 Mile and Hayes roads. This would be the first Meijer in Macomb Township. The nearest Meijer is near Hall and Hayes roads in Shelby Township.

The grocery store, which Meijer Real Estate Manager Chris Jones said wouldn’t be open 24 hours a day, would be about 90,000 square feet. At the 3,376 square foot gas station, there will be 20 parking spaces.

The ZBA unanimously approved the parking request, contingent on a special land use going before the planning commission for a drive-thru pharmacy. It denied changing the building height.

The township requires 450 parking spaces for the development. Meijer’s request was to reduce it to 400 parking spaces.

Planning Director Josh Bocks said Macomb Township’s zoning ordinance limits the building height to 25 feet. He noted that the height requirement for many residential homes in the area is also 25 feet.

“The proposed site was oriented to have minimal impacts on the surrounding properties,” he said. “There are large distances from the building to the property line — much larger than what is required by ordinance.”

Bocks added that Meijer is keeping the store farther away from the north and east residential populations.

Over 20 residents spoke at the meeting.

John Pasquinzo lives just north of the proposed Meijer and is the president of the homeowners association for Gateway Village.

He said the building height would be over the tree lines by the homes to the south.

“What about the second story of these homes?” Pasquinzo said. “They’re going to be staring above the tree lines directly into this building. The light will affect the way these people sleep and live.”

Susan Carlson lives just east of the proposed development and said there are a lot of places that could be at the site that aren’t as intrusive.

“I don’t need another store here, and there’s too much that it impacts on all of us,” she said. “Build somewhere where people can choose where they want to live. Don’t impose on my neighborhood where I’ve been for 30 years.”

Aaron Tuckfield, ZBA chairman, said that if the parking variant was denied, it would change, not stop, the development.

Clerk Kristi Pozzi, who also is a ZBA member, said homeowners who did their research when purchasing a home in that area noticed there was vacant land.

“They may have done research to see what type of zoning ordinances there were for a commercial building that is allowed to go there,” she said. “If they did, it indicated the height cannot exceed 25 feet.”

Prior to public comment at the meeting, Bocks said the township is aware there are many concerned citizens with this development.

“When we explain what is being proposed, most of them leave feeling much more comfortable about the process and development,” he said.

Bocks said a majority of the items residents bring up are more to be heard at the planning commission level.

He explained the ZBA doesn’t decide how the property is to be used.

Jason Vander Kodde, a senior engineer with Fishbeck, said for the parking request, the practical difficulty is based on several site conditions that create a difficulty in providing the required number of parking spaces. Fishbeck is representing Meijer in the development.

Vander Kodde said a majority of the store will be for grocery, with very limited general merchandise. There will be a drive-thru pharmacy and a drive-thru online order pickup area.

A change.org petition named “Stop the building of Meijer’s at 24 mile & Hayes,” has about 3,500 signatures as of July 9.

The petition was created by Macomb Township resident Amanda Tengler.

The site plan for this development is set to be discussed at the July 20 planning commission meeting.