New Michigan Campground Faces Opposition

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December 9, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Coldwater, Mich., Township Planning Commission wants a detailed site plan for the 49-acre campground Jeff Friend plans to establish north on M-86 before it acts on a special use permit.

That could come Dec. 17, but more likely will not take place until January due to the detailed plans required, according to a story by the Coldwater Daily Reporter.

Dozens of residents — several represented by three attorneys — appeared at a public hearing to raise questions about the project.

The land has two ponds from rock pits and also borders on Little Randall Lake with 20,000 feet of waterfront. It is zoned agriculture and could be used for a campground only with the issuance of a special use permit and state license.

"We are trying to preserve the trees and keep it a nature preserve and a campground," Friend told the group.

The township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) granted Friend a variance of the required 500-foot setback from residential property down to 250 feet, along with requiring Friend to maintain the existing 20- to 30-foot-high embankments to provide noise protection.

Without the variance Friend could not use 750 feet of lakefront and 7 acres of the land. The ZBA will require only two access points to the property. It also will require a minimum of 5-foot high evergreens be planted as a barrier from neighbors.

Attorney T. J. Reed noted the hand-drawn site plan did not meet the requirement that it be from a licensed engineer and be sealed. Reed said the parking and environmental issues were not addressed.

Attorney Lisa McNitt noted that when the property was a gravel pit, fencing was required but it was never enforced. She suggested a bond from the developer to make sure it is completed this time.

McNitt also asked for a phase one environmental study since a former asphalt plant dumped hardened material on the property. She wanted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) involved, especially "since the ponds will be used for swimming."

Attorney Charles Bappert claimed Hazel Lane should not be used for any purpose by the developer. Homeowners he represents are concerned about trespassing by campground users.

Realtor Jerry Ford lives south of M-86. He argued that while surrounding residential development came after Waffle Farm Campground on Union City Road was developed, "We were here first."

For the entire story, click here.

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