Rezoning approved in Macomb Township, no purchaser lined up yet

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 22, 2019

 A rezoning request for vacant property north of 22 Mile Road, west of Card Road, was approved by the board Nov. 20. No purchaser is currently lined up for the property.

A rezoning request for vacant property north of 22 Mile Road, west of Card Road, was approved by the board Nov. 20. No purchaser is currently lined up for the property.

File photo by Deb Jacques

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Vacant land that could be sold in the future is now rezoned.

On Nov. 19, the Macomb Township Planning Commission recommended board approval of a rezoning request for vacant property north of 22 Mile Road, west of Card Road, from community facilities to residential urban one family.

The following day at the Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting, the request was unanimously approved.

Macomb Township Planning Consultant Patrick Meagher said the township owns the property.

“The property at one time was approved, as was the piece to the north of it with a residential subdivision,” he said. “A church bought the entire property, which at that point we made a deal with the church to rezone it community facilities to protect the township.”

Ascension Lutheran had owned property where it was planning to build a 5,000-square-foot building, but the church building located at 23 Mile Road and North Avenue provided a better opportunity for the congregation.

Meagher added the church was going to allow residential development on the north half, but didn’t want to add a stub street to the southern property for emergency service access.

“The church kept the property for about one year and decided it wasn’t going to work for them,” Meagher said. “The township then bought it and negotiated a stub to come into the property and it’s been sitting in the township’s hands since.”

Commission secretary Aaron Tuckfield asked Meagher how the rezoning protects the township’s interest.

“If we limited it to a church, or institutionalized-type use, you wouldn’t need a stub street to carry out to 22 Mile,” he said. “If it was left residential, and the church sold, the fear was you’d end up with a 1,200 foot cul de sac that dead-ended.”

Resident Leslie Gross said he purchased almost five acres of land from the church in July 2012, prior to the township acquiring it.

“We had a plan for that subdivision, which included 11 lots,” he said. “All of a sudden, a guy named Mr. Bucci got involved and he had another plan for that piece.”

Former Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci was indicted on 18 criminal charges two years ago, including conspiracy, extortion and kickbacks.

“We had to settle for some other lots that were garbage when we had a perfectly planned court street,” Gross said. “All of a sudden, the township buys this property right after we put this stub street in.”

Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin said the reason the township purchased the property was to add the stub street.

“We’re in a position where it’s time to sell the property,” he said.

Meagher indicated there is no purchaser lined up for the property. The next step would be to open it up for bidding.

On Nov. 20, the board also denied a rezoning request for property on the northwest corner of Hall and Heydenreich roads. Developers were proposing to construct apartments for senior housing.   

Another rezoning request was denied for residential multiple family medium density units on the northeast corner of 24 Mile and Hayes roads.