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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    A Livingston County Jail inmate accused of soliciting an individual to commit murder and the woman accused of helping him have both been ordered to stand trial. 22-year-old James William Bonam of Brighton and 19-year-old Matthea Mae Spicer of Fenton were both bound over to Livingston County Circuit Court Tuesday. Bonam originally faced one count each of solicitation to commit murder and solicitation to commit larceny over $20,000. Court records indicate a second charge of solicitation to commit murder was added at Tuesday’s preliminary examination. If convicted, Bonam could be sentenced to life in prison. The likelihood of that potential penalty is increased due to Bonam being charged as a fourth time habitual offender. Spicer is charged with one count of accessory after the fact to the solicitation of murder, which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt previously told WHMI Bonam allegedly solicited a third party while incarcerated in the county jail for a separate case, in which he is facing charges of larceny and receiving and concealing stolen property. The third party has since been identified as inmate Dale McLaughlin. The accusations against Spicer suggest she rendered aid or assistance after the commission of the crime in order to help Bonam. Spicer was reportedly Bonam’s girlfriend at the time of the alleged solicitation.

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    Residents got to speak their mind on proposed work to be done on an island in West Crooked Lake. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing for a permit application that would allow a new boardwalk, dock, and beach area on Perri Island in West Crooked Lake. Over the past couple years, owner Joe Perri has been renting out the island property as a vacation home. Roughly 110 residents from around the lake attended the standing-room-only hearing held at the Genoa Township Hall, Wednesday night. MDEQ Water Resources Division member Jeff Pierce led the meeting, informing residents that that they were judging the environmental impact of the project, solely. Because of rigid guidelines for the permit, residents were also informed that public opinion doesn’t really sway them one way or another. Several residents had issues with Perri’s renters and a perceived lack of boating etiquette and knowledge. Pierce informed the group that this was out of their jurisdiction and off-topic for the MDEQs considerations. Still, many wanted their complaints heard, unhappy with the “commercialization” of the island. Craig Leslie of Brighton, however, presented an argument suggesting Perri’s project fails to meet the 3 conditions of the MDEQ tests for issuance of permit in a wetlands area. With “avoidance,” he felt firstly that the impact of the wetlands could be avoided by using the current dock.With “minimization, he believes the existing single dock allows access to an ample usage of the property. And finally with mitigation, he said he has seen on evidence of it regardless of the size of the wetlands affected. Leslie and a couple others argued that the increased activity from the rental has also affected fish spawning. In all, 12 spoke against the project, while 10 showed support. Many showing support believed that Perri has the right to do with his property as likes, like everyone else on the lake. They felt he was within his rights as a resident, with some testifying to the poor condition of his current dock and beach area, which one resident described as “muck.” Perri was at the hearing, along with representation from his engineering group. The public comment period is open until October 6th, after which the MDEQ will make their decision. (MK)

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    The DDA and Howell Main Street Inc. recently kicked off future downtown development technical assistance, which is fully funded and provided by the National Main Street Center and Michigan Main Street Center. DDA Director Cathleen Edgerly says a consultant has already met with one of the city’s project teams to talk about the downtown region’s current market demographics, existing business mix and properties. A survey was then created and will be disbursed to the community in hopes of getting feedback on what residents would like to see downtown in the future. Edgerly says that could include specific types of businesses, restaurants, shopping locations, attractions or activities that residents are interested in. While Howell Main Street was the winner of the 2018 Great American Main Street Award, Edgerly says there is always more that can be done, adding they need to maintain what the area currently has and still plan for what's to come. Edgerly says the survey will get a feeling for what projects and concepts residents would like to see, which helps guide the city, DDA and Main Street Inc. in leading conversations when approached by different businesses and developers. The DDA and Main Street Inc. plans to roll out the community survey at Saturday’s Food Truck Rally, but will be launched on a broader scale on Monday, October 1st. Edgerly says downtown’s future growth and development really relies on advanced planning, and encourages residents to take the survey to aid in that process. (DK)

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    Support from a local library will help provide Howell students with new and additional resources. Through a collaboration, Howell High School students will now have access to the Howell Carnegie District Library’s digital subscriptions and resources. Students can gain access to the library’s resources using their student ID number as a virtual library card. Howell Public Schools executive director of instructional services, Elson Liu, calls this a wonderful opportunity for the kids. Liu said that with the roll-out of their 1-to1 Chromebook program, this will help give students access to high quality online resources that would otherwise be cost prohibitive for the school to purchase. Howell Carnegie District Library director Holly Lamb Ward said that while these resources are available to anyone who has a library card, students without one will now gain that access. Ward said that in her mind it didn’t make sense for both the library and the school to subscribe to the same resources when the library can make them available to the students at no cost. More information on this collaboration will be available to students and parents soon. (MK)

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    Some Genoa Township residents are under a boil water advisory following a water main break. A water main break cut off water to the northern portion of the Oak Pointe development this morning. It affected all of the homes north of the West Crooked Lake outlet, including the North Shore subdivisions. Greg Tatara, the Utility Director for Genoa Township, tells WHMI the 12-inch water main that broke has been repaired and service is restored. However, all residents that were without water earlier are now under precautionary 48-hour boil water notice. That means residents should boil water first only if they intend to directly consume it. Tatara says if residents notice some air or discolored water in the water lines, they should just run water until its clear. Signs are up in affected areas to inform property owners. Updates and a map of those affected by the boil water advisory can be viewed through the link provided. (JM)

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    A locally based non-profit organization is shining the light on domestic violence by lighting up downtown Brighton. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. For the past 21 years, LACASA has held a candlelight vigil on the grounds of the Historic Howell Courthouse honoring victims, survivors, and family, and friends. This year they’re changing the scene to the Millpond in Brighton. The Shine the Light Ceremony will be held there this Tuesday night, from 7pm until 8. LACASA Community Relations Director Nicole Matthews-Creech said with this change of location, they are taking the opportunity to lighten a mood a bit. She said that “just because you want to talk about an issue, doesn’t mean you have to be somber. Yeah, you’re talking about an issue that causes turmoil and trauma in our families, but there are some positive aspects about that and it’s important to recognize them.” She said, though, it will still be a time to recognize and honor victims no longer with us, and show support for those still living with domestic violence and a chance to give them hope. LACASA is inviting area businesses and residents to bring and display purple lights on store fronts and home fronts. Purple is the cause color for domestic violence. The ceremony will feature speakers including Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Vailliencourt and several members of LACASA. There will also be art displays from survivors, performances from both the Brighton Men’s and Howell High School A Cappella Choirs, and a dance from the Dynamic Expressions Dance Team. Those wishing to purchase purple lights can find them in string, porch bulb, and lantern form. They can be bought for a nominal donation to LACASA at the LACASA Center, the LACASA Boutique resale store, or at Tuesday night’s event. (MK)

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    The man charged in the brutal stabbing death of a former Pinckney woman is heading to trial. 18-year-old Tywaun Sims-Scott is charged with a single count of homicide-open murder in the stabbing death of 19-year-old Jamie Barsegian. Ypsilanti Police found Sims-Scott in the street on June 15th, armed with knives and blood on his clothes. Investigation led police to Barsegian’s residence on Green Road, where she was found stabbed to death. At a hearing Wednesday in Washtenaw County District Court, tapes were played of an interview conducted by Ypsilanti Police Detective Jessica Lowry after Sims-Scott was arrested. MLive reports that on the tapes, Sims-Scott said he had been living in an apartment with Barsegian and her boyfriend for two weeks when they got into an argument over breakfast while her boyfriend was at work. He claims he stabbed Barsegian after she threatened to get a gun. A Washtenaw County Deputy Medical Examiner testified Barsegian, who lived for many years in Pinckney, was stabbed 49 times in the chest, neck, abdomen and appendages. Her fiancé previously said they had taken Sims-Scott, who was a neighbor, into their home after he was kicked out of his apartment. A pre-trial hearing for Sims-Scott is scheduled Nov. 1st in Washtenaw County Trial Court. He remains lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail without bond. (JK)

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    Northfield Township officials gathered more public comment on a revised development plan for the North Village district of Whitmore Lake. Three years ago the Board of Trustees began exploring options for the roughly 23 acres of downtown Whitmore Lake property with heavy input from residents. When they put out a request for proposal, they got a bite from one developer, Lockwood Development. Lockwood is known for their expertise in senior housing, and true to form, their proposal featured it heavily. In July, feeling that Lockwood missed the mark on too many components key to the community’s vision plan, the Board instructed their Township Manager and Planning Consultant to work with the developer on a revised plan. The new plan moved much of the housing to the back of the site, leaving roughly 6 acres for a public park. At Tuesday night’s meeting, they discussed the progress made and opened up the podium for public comment. Residents were still less than impressed with it. Most thought the 6 acres for park space was too small, with 12 acres being the needed size that most landed on. Some were concerned that the need for improvements to the water and sewer system was going to cost residents too much. Many members of the public reiterated that they wanted a mix of age groups for the area, and that it not be senior specific. There was also concern among some residents and officials that the housing will be too costly. The projected cost of rentals ranged from $950 “affordable housing” to $2,200 market value. The Board shared mixed emotions during their discussion period, with Supervisor Marlene Chockley believing an injection of seniors might be a good thing. She said 200 new people to the area would stimulate businesses. Consensus also landed on 6.3 acres being too small for the park. Trustee Wayne Dockett had had enough with Lockwood altogether and motioned to cease working with them at all. That vote failed 5-2. The Board gave instruction to their Planning Consultant that they would like to meet with the developer at their next meeting, on October 9th. They also instructed him to prepare a request for qualifications, or RFQ, because of uncertainty on whether Lockwood can provide all they and the community wish for, or not. (MK)

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    Residents in the City of Howell have another opportunity to get educated on a Headlee Override request that will appear on the November ballot. The City is faced with a structural deficit, as are most other municipalities across the state due to what officials say is a broken state funding model. City officials say public services and quality infrastructure are key aspects of quality of life for a vibrant community and the request would help fund services and needed pavement improvements. The City of Howell is asking for a 4.5-mill millage increase for a five year period, via a Headlee Override. The City has been hosting different events to hopefully educate voters, although the two to date have both been sparsely attended. City Manager Shea Charles says they just want to remind residents there is another informational session approaching on the Headlee Override request. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, October 2nd at the Livingston Educational Service Agency building off Grand River and Highlander Way. It will run from 7 to 9pm and feature an open house format. Charles says they’ll have different specialties available for everybody to come and ask different questions whether it be on roads, money, police or just general conversations in regard to why the City is asking for the request. Council has expressed that putting off needed road improvements will only get more expensive while roads become more damaged. If the ballot measure is approved, it would allow the City to preserve current services and avoid cuts. Council decided on the initial five year time frame so that residents can observe how the money is spent and make a decision on whether or not to extend it another five years. Complete details on the Headlee Override request and Tuesday’s information session are available on the City of Howell’s website. The link is provided. (JM)

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    Some road closures can be expected as the South Lyon community hosts the 34th annual Pumpkinfest. South Lyon Police advise that there will be road closures for the festival as well as the parade. They ask that visitors use caution while navigating through and around the city during the event due to extra pedestrian and vehicle traffic. "No Parking" signs are posted and will be enforced. Starting at noon today, the intersection of Pontiac Trail and Ten Mile will be closed for the weekend. The various points of closure include: Pontiac Trail at Whipple Street, Ten Mile at Washington Street, Ten Mile at Wells Street, Pontiac Trail at Liberty Street and Pontiac Trail at Detroit Street. The actual Pumpkinfest event kicks off at 6pm tonight, as does the biergarten/main stage on Wells Street. Festivities start at 10am Saturday with the annual Pumpkinfest Parade. The parade staging area will be at Centennial Middle School and police advise that Nine Mile from Centennial to Pontiac Trail will close at 8:30am. At 9:30am, police will shut down Pontiac Trail from Nine Mile to Liberty Street. The areas will be closed for approximately 90 minutes while the parade makes its way through the city, ending at Bartlett Elementary where a craft show is planned. The downtown area will feature food, music and inflatables. Sunday will continue with a great pumpkin contest, battle of artists and pie eating contests among other activities. Pumpkinfest will conclude at 6pm on Sunday and roads should be open between 6pm and 7pm. Event details can be found through the link. (JM)

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    August unemployment rates fell seasonally in all of Michigan’s regional labor markets, including locally. Livingston County’s August jobless rate stood at 3%, marking a drop of six-tenths of a percentage point from July. Livingston now ranks 10th among Michigan’s 83 counties. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says total employment declined in most areas over the month while workforce levels decreased in all regions. The state says a very minor employment decrease of .3% was recorded since August of 2017 in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn statistical area, which encompasses Livingston County. Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives says the August jobless rate reductions throughout the state’s local regions primarily reflected a drop in the number of unemployed individuals actively seeking jobs following the July peak in summer and seasonal employment. He says unemployment rate declines over the year mainly reflected the ongoing improvement in Michigan’s labor market. (JM)

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    Officials for the City of Fenton are recommending site plans be approved for a mixed-use development that has been in the works for the last couple of years. Ghassan Saab, Project Manager for Corlin Builders, Inc. of Grand Blanc, says the Cornerstone II project has been in the works for a couple of years now and has now “reached a pretty big stage”. A final site plan for the development, which is set to be located on LeRoy Street between the existing Cornerstone building and the Fenton United Methodist Church, came before the city’s Planning Commission Thursday night for review. Carmine Avantini, a consultant with Community Image Builders (CIB), says the Cornerstone II building won’t have the exact same design as the original Cornerstone building but “compliments it”. At just over 41,000 square-feet, the four-story building will be mixed-use. The first story will serve as retail space, the second for office space, and the third and fourth stories will each have seven apartment units. While several planning commissioners said they like the look of the building, Commissioner Michael Morey was not entirely pleased. Morey took issue with some pieces of the project, like a building height waiver to allow for the proposed 54-foot tall building in the Central Business District, which has a maximum building height limit of 35 feet. Morey also said he didn’t understand the Downtown Development Authority’s “reluctance” to communicate with the planning commission about the project and suggested changes, adding that if they had communicated, they “could’ve worked out something a lot better than this”, referring to the final product. Councilman David McDermott didn’t necessarily agree with Morey’s accusation, saying that he doesn't think there was reluctance to communicate but that they could talk about it later. Ultimately the planning commission voted to recommend approval of the development’s final site plan, contingent on a few conditions including submission of a detailed signage plan. Morey was the lone dissenting vote. The site plan must now receive approval from city council before the project can move toward construction. (DK)

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    Local and state celebrities will take to the cat walk in an annual fundraiser to help those with developmental disabilities. The Arc of Livingston is holding their 25th annual Celebrity Holiday Fashion Show on November 15th at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township. All of the proceeds will remain in Livingston County helping The Arc with their mission to empower and support people with developmental disabilities so that they can participate with and contribute to the community. The evening begins at 5:30pm with hor d'oeuvres and a silent auction filled with many great ideas for holiday shopping by local businesses. Dinner and the fashion show begin at 7pm. The event features host celebrities including Detroit sports and media personalities as well as Livingston County business and civic leaders. In celebration of the event’s 25th year, the jewelry raffle will feature a one-of-a-kind, 18-karat white- and yellow-gold diamond necklace, valued at $7,500. It features white and yellow diamonds commissioned by Cooper & Binkley Jewelers from world class designer Simon G. To reserve a spot or learn more about the evening, visit the link below. (JK)

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    A local lawmaker has been named Legislator of the Year by the non-profit Michigan Association of Health Plans. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township was chosen by MAHP as its Legislator of the Year and was presented the award at a ceremony held in Lansing. Vaupel was selected for his work as chair of the House Health Policy committee. The non-profit group is an industry voice for 14 health care plans, covering more than 2.5 million Michigan residents and 50 businesses affiliated with the health care industry. MAHP facilitates communication among members, government, and the industry regarding health care issues of common concern. Vaupel said he is honored to receive the award and is proud of the work the Health Policy Committee has done to help those with physical or mental health needs. (JM)

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    Four respected alumni of Pinckney Community Schools have been recognized on the district’s new Wall of Fame. A ceremony was held at Pinckney Community High School earlier today recognizing the inaugural Wall of Fame Class. Superintendent Rick Todd said this was a way to honor those who have come before them and have given back to the community, state, and nation. John Colone is an inductee from the class of 1963. A Vietnam veteran, who was wonded during the Tet Offensive, he spent a year and a half in the Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Colorado. For his work helping other patients while there, he was named Colorado’s Disabled Veteran of the Year. Returning to Pinckney,Colone built a small car dealership into one of the largest in the state and has helped raised millions of dollars for veterans and others in need. Jason Duika was honored from the class of 2001. Jason is a professional opera singer who has performed Verdi Opera Favourites at Carnegie Hall and is currently singing in California. He said one of his fondest memories is singing “Oh Holy Night” at the high school’s Christmas concert, his sophomore year. United States Navy Captain Scott Tait graduated from Pinckney in 1988 has served the country overseas in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Tait joined the U.S. Navy in 1996 and has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry. He is responsible for helping craft new military and diplomatic strategies at the U.S. Naval War College. The class of 1981 was represented by Yvonne Taylor. Yvonne is the Principal at Farley Hill Elementary. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toledo and Eastern Michigan University, and has served as a presenter at several educational conferences statewide. Taylor has also been instrumental in launching a local food pantry for families in need. The four alumni were presented plaques matching the ones displayed on the wall at the high school. Superintendent Todd said they plan on inducting 4 new alumni each year, moving forward. (MK)

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    Officials for the City of Fenton are recommending site plans be approved for a mixed-use development that has been in the works for the last couple of years. Ghassan Saab, Project Manager for Corlin Builders, Inc. of Grand Blanc, says the Cornerstone II project has been in the works for a couple of years now and has now “reached a pretty big stage”. A final site plan for the development, which is set to be located on LeRoy Street between the existing Cornerstone building and the Fenton United Methodist Church, came before the city’s Planning Commission Thursday night for review. Carmine Avantini, a consultant with Community Image Builders (CIB), says the Cornerstone II building won’t have the exact same design as the original Cornerstone building but “compliments it”. At just over 41,000 square-feet, the four-story building will be mixed-use. The first story will serve as retail space, the second for office space, and the third and fourth stories will each have seven apartment units. While several planning commissioners said they like the look of the building, Commissioner Michael Morey was not entirely pleased. Morey took issue with some pieces of the project, like a building height waiver to allow for the proposed 54-foot tall building in the Central Business District, which has a maximum building height limit of 35 feet. Morey also said he didn’t understand the Downtown Development Authority’s “reluctance” to communicate with the planning commission about the project and suggested changes, adding that if they had communicated, they “could’ve worked out something a lot better than this”, referring to the final product. Councilman David McDermott didn’t necessarily agree with Morey’s accusation, saying that he doesn't think there was reluctance to communicate but that they could talk about it later. Ultimately the planning commission voted to recommend approval of the development’s final site plan, contingent on a few conditions including submission of a detailed signage plan. Morey was the lone dissenting vote. The site plan must now receive approval from city council before the project can move toward construction. (DK)

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    An event in Howell Township targeting families and car buffs will support the programs and services of the Salvation Army of Livingston County and volunteers are being sought. The Great Pumpkin Classic Car Show will be held at the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport on Saturday, October 13th. The event typically features hundreds of cars, a bounce house, food vendors and door prizes. The show is open to all makes, models and years of vehicles. A variety of volunteers are being sought to help out the day of the event, from which proceeds directly benefit the Salvation Army of Livingston County. In addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance, the local corps provides a wide range of programs and services year round to those in need in the community from emergency food, utility and rental assistance to helping children and senior citizens. Volunteer opportunities include: Event Spectator parking (8am-10am & 10am-12pm - two shifts) Red Kettle Bell (8am-12pm & 12pm-3pm - two shifts) T-Shirt sales (9:00am - 12:00pm) Help at the entrance gate (9:00am - 12:00pm) To sign-up for any of the opportunities or more information regarding the event, contact Kristin Moore at 517-546-1117 or email Kmoore@armorvci.com. (JM)

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    The St. Mary Catholic School in Pinckney will be offering its students FIRST LEGO League Robotics for the first time. FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling and energy, and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS. School officials say FIRST LEGO Robotics is fun for students while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), with a dose of imagination to solve a problem. Robotics is also said to help students develop critical thinking and team-building skills and basic STEM applications, in addition to practicing the program’s core values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship. St. Mary School officials say interest and participation in FIRST LEGO Robotics has been strong. The school has four teams, led by parent volunteer coaches, with two teams made up of Kindergarten through third graders, and one team each made up of each fourth and fifth and sixth through eighth graders. Teams will go through the process and compete in a limited number of challenges this first year. Principal Veronica Kinsey says, “FIRST LEGO Robotics has generated a real buzz in the school”, adding that both students and parents have shared in the excitement. Pictured: 1) Jimmy Hogan, Andersen Meisner, and Katelyn Sanchez 2) Left bottom and around: Madison Cooke, Grace Lackey, Mr. Caldie, Trenten Caldie, Joseph Moltane, and Peter Hilliard.

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    Fire hydrant flushing will get underway in the City of Brighton next week. The City of Brighton Utilities Department will be flushing fire hydrants throughout the City’s water utility service area between the hours of 7am and 3:30pm starting Monday, October 1st lasting through Friday, October 5th. They will also be performing work between 12am and 6am on Monday morning, October 1st. Officials advise residents and businesses to plan water use accordingly, as the procedure may cause some disturbances and discoloration in the water system following the flushing. Customers may also experience a temporary drop in pressure. They are also advised to refrain from washing white or light colored clothes during the flushing period. Those that do experience discoloration and rust particles in their water should run cold water faucets only for approximately 10 minutes to clear the discolored water from your system. If the water is still discolored, repeat the same process one hour later. Those that continue to experience discolored water can call Utilities Director Tim Krugh at 810-227-9479 or e-mail at krught@brightoncity.org. (JM)

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    Marion Township officials have sent the developer of a potential planned unit development in the area back to the drawing board. If approved, the Golf Ranch PUD would feature a condominium development in Marion Township, south of Mason Road and southwest of Peavy Road. Developers had previously had their concept approved by the Marion Township Planning Commission for 45 homes, but were asked by the Board of Trustees to reduce that number. They were back before the board Thursday night with a new concept plan featuring 36 homes. This was still too dense for the majority of board members. Concerns were raised over the developer’s plans for dealing with water on the site, as it is in a location with a high water table. Other issues were the number of homes on a cul-de-sac, lot sizes, and setbacks. The developer explained that these were the reasons they were seeking a PUD and not trying to develop regularly by ordinance. They felt they met requirements for a PUD, though the board, and specifically Hanvey, questioned that. Trustee Les Andersen said that he traditionally fights against all PUDs as he’s there for the community that elected him, and not the developers. Several of the trustees liked the marketing of the development, believing the developer understood the way trends are moving towards smaller housing. They just didn’t like the density of the scale presented. A motion was made to approve the concept, but failed by a 5 to 2 vote. (MK)

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