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Uproar over housing project proposal sends Boyne Villa back to drawing board

BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR

Concerns of Boyne City residents over a proposed Boyne City Housing Commission development has prompted officials to withdraw a request for a property rezone.

Early this winter, at least 70 people attended a public hearing, and many dozens opined on the proposed 64-unit Boyne Villa housing project with concerns including its potential affects on property values, increased traffic, and the type of clientele it might attract.

 

The Boyne City Housing Commission announced last week that it is revising the plans for the new Boyne Villa development to include suggestions made during the Boyne City Planning Commission’s public hearing in January 2017.

The Jan. 16 hearing detailed a proposed property rezone request for what could have ended up holding a 64-unit housing complex.

More than 70 people attended the meeting which usually sees only a few audience members.

The parcel is located adjacent to the north side of Dear Meadows and the Boyne City Senior Center.

And, the property is approximately 7.81 acres, measuring approximately 1,600 feet by 800 feet.

The properties to the north, west and east are zoned TRD, and the property to the south is zoned MFRD and TRD and is used for multifamily and single family homes.

The parcel is currently vacant with some mature tree coverage; water and sewer are relatively close and is available to the site from the north and south.

As a part of the process for redesigning the plan, the housing commission has withdrawn the current rezoning application.

“We have listened to the comments and concerns that local residents had with the plans for the future development,” said Jane MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Boyne City Housing Commission. “We are working to revise the plans based on the comments at the public hearing.”

She added, “After the plans are drafted we will hold a community meeting to explain the project and get further feedback from the community. We hope to have new plans ready in two to three months.”

The original written offer for the conditional rezoning had identified the proposed uses for the parcel to Boyne City Planning Commission to include up to 64 two-bedroom units and 10 single-family units.

Most comments from the public who attended January’s meeting were of concern regarding such a development. Following is a selection of the many people who opined on the matter:

Numerous people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Following are some of those comments:

  • Jerry Kelts said his concern is for traffic between Deer Meadows and the senior center and that there will be a lot of extra traffic coming off Division.
  • April Reycraft said her concern is foot traffic, and that there are not sidewalks available around that block, and wondered whether fences will go up so people have to go around or will they continue to go through the rest of the woods to get downtown.
  • Tracy Russold asked if there any other sites available, if an analysis has been done to see if the values of the residential properties in the area will go down, and if there will be any type of assessment to put in sidewalk and sewers to the current homeowners in the area.
  • Scott Pearce said the personality of Boyne City is three to five houses total within a block with double lots.
  • Pam Handy Crumpler said she grew up here and has lived in her house for over 40 years, and she is concerned her kids growing up and grandkids coming back with the extra traffic.
  • Shannon Pearce said they have invested a lot of time and money to make it their home and that the neighborhood is currently nice and stable, and that there is no pride of ownership with rentals.
  • Nathan Minnaar said he moved into the area eight years ago, and you don’t see increases in values and people investing in their neighborhoods like this. He asked what support there is for the value of the homes in the area?
  • April Caverly said there are wetlands in the area on the back of the parking lot with nesting birds, and she asked how developers can put a proposed road through the wetland?
  • Kyle Marshall, representing Magnum Hospitality, said the area is in dire need for labor force housing to hire employees.

According to MacKenzie, a conditional rezoning will be resubmitted after new plans for Boyne Villa are completed.

The proposed Boyne Villa development property is located off Division Street in Boyne City.

The Boyne City Housing Commission purchased the 13.6 acre site in 1997 with the intention to develop it for housing for Boyne City residents.

Deer Meadows apartments were built on a portion of the site in 2001. Another part of the site was given to the Boyne Area Seniors to develop the Boyne Area Senior Center in 2003.

In December 2016 the Boyne City Housing Commission submitted a conditional rezoning application to the City of Boyne City to develop Boyne Villa on the remaining 7.8 acre site.

 

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