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Proposal for future of Nye’s Apple Barn property upsetting neighbors

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WNDU) -Nearby residents tell 16 News Now they’re upset with a proposal for the future of the Nye’s Apple Barn property in St. Joseph.

The St. Joseph Township Planning Commission heard this proposal to turn the 12-acre parcel into a planned unit development at their meeting last night and shared the documents with us.

16 News Now read over the document to tell us why it has neighbors speaking up against it.

16 News Now spoke to several residents who know about this proposal who even signed a petition opposing any commercialization of the Nye’s Apple Barn property.

When we asked one longtime homeowner whose property backs up to Nye’s if he’d build here again knowing about this proposal, this is what he said.

“Probably wouldn’t have built here if I’d known some sort of commercial development was coming in here. It wasn’t written that one wouldn’t come, but it was always implied,” said Russell Tynes who’s lives behind Nye’s Apple Barn.

Russell Tynes and his wife moved right behind Nye’s Apple Barn more than three decades ago.

Tuesday night, the St. Joseph Township Planning Commission heard a proposal that detailed plans to turn the 12-acre parcel right off a major interstate, I-94, into room for a gas station, restaurants, green space, apartments, and retail space.

Tynes is joined by other neighbors who say this proposal will create several problems if allowed to go through.

“They’re going to experience the traffic issues coming out of here, the extra noise that will come from this commercial development, the nuisance from incredible lights and noise. I mean, these houses will literally back up to a commercial development,” said nearby resident Dave Grumbine.

The property is zoned for residential housing, but Grumbine says the township and developer can avoid the zoning ordinance since the proposal is for planned unit development. He says he thinks that’s a stretch.

“If you have a gas station, and you put in an apartment complex with fifty people, you put in retail stores, and restaurants, that’s not a planned unit development, that’s a complete rezoning for commercialization,” Grumbine said.

The planning commission chairman told 16 News Now he’s not going to comment on the proposal at this time, but there’s yet to be any action it.

The planning commission has 30 days to review the proposal.

The owner of the property, John Nye, said he’s not going to comment on the proposal at this time either.

His nephew, who says he’s operated the apple barn since 2004, replied to us on Facebook saying, “It’s sad to see a barn built by my family in the late 1800′s, and land farmed for almost 150 years being used for anything but farming and ag.”

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