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Orion Twp seeks to sell land for possible development

November 20, 2013 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

It is Orion Township's intention to sell an 11-acre plot of land located within the Fernhurst Drive community.

First, the township had to approve the rezoning of the lot from a multi-family residential area to a single-family residential area in order to match the surrounding neighborhoods. They approved the rezoning at the November 18 board meeting.

"All we are doing is rezoning dirt," Trustee Mike Flood said. "This is the final step of getting zoning back to where it should be," he said.

The township paid $250,000 in 2010 for the property, with $42,947.59 coming directly out of the safety paths budget, which would be repaid if sold.

A couple "Fernhurstians" attended the Monday night board meeting. Others were prevented from joining as they were blocked in by a tree that had fallen due to the high winds on Sunday and Monday.

Jack Ward of Fernhurst Drive made it, however.

"I just want to say we are glad you are going to single-family. That will take care of all the extra traffic we are worried about," he said.

Some residents were concerned the stream of traffic would increase on Joslyn and M24 with new families from condos or apartments with the multi-family zoning.

John McMillin noted this is a project that has been deliberated for 15 years.

"We would like to be part of those discussions. There are problems on Fernhurst that could possibly be resolved with creativity," he said.

It was brought to the township's attention that many Fernhurst residents hoped for a park to be built on the 11-acre chunk of land. Some are even interested in purchasing the acreage themselves.

The township is avoiding park-building, however, in order to better maintain the three prominent parks residents have already complained were lacking maintenance, Supervisor Chris Barnett said.

If residents wanted another park that was more accessible to the community, it might be a different story, he said. However, township board members feel resources should be dedicated to Jesse Decker, Friendship and Civic Center Park.

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