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St. Joe Twp. Board supports moving toward next steps in PUD project at Nye’s Apple Barn

Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH TWP., Mich. (WNDU) -New details for a proposed planned unit development on the property that formerly housed Nye’s Apple Barn in St. Joseph Township.

16 News Now tells us what yesterday’s township board meeting means for the future of this project.

The township board didn’t take any action at either of Monday’s meetings but they did show their support for the planning commission’s recommendation to allow the property owner here to proceed with a formal petition for his planned unit development.

Property owner John Nye declined to comment on the process of turning what was once home to Nye’s Apple Barn into room for a gas station, restaurants, green space, apartments, and retail space.

The St. Joseph Charter Township manager says he’s approved to start putting together formal architectural plans for the buildings and a traffic study for a proposed new intersection.

“Yesterday, it was just an update for the board, so now, so-to-speak, the ball is back in Mr. Nye’s court to get all the information needed to file a formal petition,” said St. Joseph Charter Township Manager Denise Cook.

Residents of the adjacent subdivision, Bluffwood Terrace, made it known back in April they were against the proposal, presenting a petition at Monday night’s meeting signed by all 72 homeowners opposing any advancement in the project.

One of them tells me this PUD project will make what’s already a dangerous stretch of Niles road even more unsafe.

“To make a commercial development now, right here, by the intersection is not a good solution to anything. It isn’t good for this community. It surely isn’t good for this neighborhood. It would only create risk for anyone who travels this section,” said Bluffwood Terrace neighborhood association committee member Dave Grumbine.

Grumbine says adding a gas station, stores, and other amenities at this location just off I-94 will only add more traffic.

He says a traffic light isn’t going to solve that problem.

“At a 50 mph clip here and people focusing on the I-94 intersection, they often overlook people turning left, or people turning right, and people who are stopped, and this is a high accident section,” Grumbine said.

He said there are also more specific concerns to the neighborhood like increased light and noise pollution.

If the Township Board approves the formal plan the next step in the process is to set up a hearing so folks in the community, as well as those in the neighborhood right next to the property, have an opportunity to give their opinions on this project.

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