Planners explain vote against proposed development for former Nye’s Apple Barn property

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 11:16 PM EDT
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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that the St. Joseph Township Planning Commission approved the construction of apartments on the former Nye’s Apple Barn property.

While a special use permit for housing was passed last week, it would only be valid if the planned unit development (PUD) permit was approved for the whole project.

ST. JOSEPH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNDU) - St. Joseph Township planners explained why they previously voted against a proposal for a planned unit development (PUD) on the former Nye’s Apple Barn property during a special meeting on Tuesday night.

Planners voted against the PUD recommendation in February, which would allow the 12 acres along Niles Road to be developed into a gas station and other business developments. A special use permit for housing, which planners did approve last week, paves the way for apartments to be built, but it would only be valid if the PUD permit was approved for the whole project.

At Tuesday night’s special meeting between planners and the developer, planners explained why the PUD portion was not favorably recommended to the township board. The planning commission cited noise concerns, increased traffic issues, and displeasure from nearby residents.

“You add the traffic congestion that is there now. Morning and afternoon, it is a nightmare as far as people that are coming towards Berrien Springs or South Bend or coming the other direction from St. Joe. It’s a lot of traffic,” said Ray Matejckzyk of the St. Joseph Township Planning Commission. “Just did not fit in with what I see as St. Joe Township, and our job from the planning commission is to do what’s best for the township and residents. This just did not fit; in my view, from what I saw, that’s why I voted no.”

John Nye, owner of the longtime business, was not happy with the commission’s decision, and it’s unclear if they will make amendments to their PUD application going forward.

A timetable was not specified.

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