MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Meridian Township Redevelopment Fund application was approved two weeks earlier than anticipated.
The Township Board and the Planning Commission adopted the Meridian Township Master Plan in 2017. The goal of this plan was to further develop Downtown Okemos, Downtown Haslett and Carriage Hills after they were declared PICAs (Potential Intensity Change Areas). The Board created the Meridian Redevelopment Fund about a year later to further growth in these areas and other PICAs.
Money was recently requested to be put towards the fund for the development of Downtown Okemos, specifically the demolition process, a couple of weeks ago. This caused the Township’s Economic Development Corporation to hold a special meeting on October 8 to discuss and then approve the redevelopment fund before it went to the Township Board.
The original amount of money the Township was to pay in the plan was reduced by a significant amount. Originally, it was proposed that they were to pay 50% of the costs. However, the developers and pending EGLE (Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) grant will contribute a large portion of the money for the project. This leaves a contribution of around 85 thousand dollars for the Township to put toward the fund, which is only around 10% of total costs.
Tuesday’s meeting was meant to hold only the scheduled public hearing and discussion for the item. Normally, this item would have not been taken action upon until the next meeting during the first week of November. After the hearing and some deliberation between members, the board voted 5-1 to bypass traditional meeting rules and take action immediately.
Clerk Brett Dreyfus was opposed to moving forward to allow the public more time to get involved and comment.
Treasurer Phil Deschaine, Supervisor Ron Styka, and Trustees Courtney Wisinski and Dan Opsommer had similar responses in taking action immediately. They said that this item was on many agendas, the public was given appropriate notice about the hearing and the Township residents have been questioning the pace of the project already.
The application was accepted with a 5-1 vote by the board, Clerk Dreyfus being the objecting vote.
The developers said that the demolition process will begin very shortly alongside the approval of the application.
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