After more than a year of tweaking the plans of Clover Communities, the Van Buren Township Planning Commission at its April 27 meeting granted final site plan approvals for a[…]

After more than a year of tweaking the plans of Clover Communities, the Van Buren Township Planning Commission at its April 27 meeting granted final site plan approvals for a senior housing facility with 128 independent senior housing units.
The development, to be called The Willows of Van Buren, is on 17.72 acres at 8470 Belleville Rd. The Willows development site is 16.16 acres and there is a 1.57 acre out-parcel that will be developed in the future.
Clover Communities, the developer, had presented its preliminary site plan in March 2021 and they have been waiting for a letter from Wayne County on the stormwater plan.
Meanwhile, they broke up the garages that were in long buildings, into five segments of four garages each to improve the looks of the facility, in accordance with past suggestions from the planning commission.
The issue of the township’s planned western extension of Robson Road at the development’s northern border in the future was addressed with changes and the water main to the building was moved away from the trees planned around the driveway to make the main easier to access for repairs.
A sidewalk will be built along the front of the property from Robson Road south.
Paul Kammer of Fishbeck, engineering consultants for the township, said the big issue is storm water management with the developers and the county dealing with what’s on the site.
“The stormwater doesn’t go anywhere,” Kammer said, explaining there is no enclosed system on Belleville Road and stormwater goes to an open ditch with driveway culverts running towards the south/southeast.
He said he has no issue with the way it is now proposed. There is no direct outlet without crossing property to the west where it goes to a drain.
He said the applicant is proposing to collect stormwater using a proposed privately owned storm sewer system and conveyed to an onsite drainage basin. The plans indicate a standard detention pond system with a proposed outlet and emergency overflow spillway into a plunge pool (a smaller drainage basin) at the edge of the property. The plunge pool will discharge westerly onto the adjacent property at the back of the lot (west), towards the Apple Run Drain, approximately 1,500 feet to the west.
There is no direct storm water connection to the Apple Run Drain from the plunge pool, but instead overland sheet flow towards the drain, he said. This adjoining property is owned by Van Buren Township and is known to have existing wetlands. In a meeting with the township, Kammer said it was pointed out the additional flow from the Clover Development property may increase the saturated area up to and beyond the wetland and may expand the footprint of the existing wetland.
Township Treasurer Sharry Budd, who sits on the commission, said they had been talking about the name at the township and she asked if they would consider changing the name to “Willows of Van Buren Township.” Beth Ernat replied she couldn’t confirm that but would take the suggestion and pass it on to the owner.
Ernat said planning the development has been an adventure and even though it hasn’t been in the paper lately, she continues to get calls.
Fairgrounds restroom, laundry room
The commission also approved the preliminary and final site plans for the Wayne County Fairgrounds Restroom Building and laundry building on a 2,380-square-foot slab at an existing fairground facility, along with seven new asphalt parking spaces and a concrete walkway and to demolish 7,500-square-feet of combined concrete and gravel services.
The 37.5-acre fairgrounds was established in 1946 at 10871 Quirk Rd. and is owned by the non-profit Wayne County 4-H Association. In the beginning camping there was for the youth and adult exhibitors in tents during the week of the fair.
In the early 1980s, a campground for the public was established to help generate income to sustain the fair. The old bath house that is being replaced was built in the late 1970s. The new facility is proposed to include six washing and six drying machines, along with eight toilets, eight showers and eight sinks. The current building that is being replaced has seven showers, two sinks, and two urinals.
Deborah Schalte, treasurer, was present to represent the fairgrounds. The campground is located on seven acres at the north end of the property.
In other business at the one-hour-and-25-minute meeting, the commission:
• Set a public hearing for May 25 for the draft Sumpter Road Corridor Plan, which is an overall vision for the Sumpter Road Corridor. Dan Power, director of planning and economic development, said the plan had been sent out for comments to neighboring communities and he has received minor comments so far. There still is plenty of work to do on the zoning ordinances that will support this plan, he said;
• Discussed a proposed zoning ordinance text amendment concerning the categorization of gasoline filling and service stations. Currently, the zoning ordinance permits those uses in a variety of zoning districts as uses permitted by right. The changes will regulate them as special uses. The commission previously had asked to look at EV charging stations as part of this, but after discussion it was suggested that EV be pulled out of this and considered as an accessory use. “We’ll keep working on it,” Director Power said;
• Removed from the proposed agenda the Community Center site plan because it wasn’t ready; and
• Heard Commissioner Medina Atchinson asked about the vacant Kmart building and the pretty-much-empty shopping center there. Director Power said he talked to the new owner and there are leases in place and it won’t be demolished for two to five years. He said the developer knows it will need a fresh use.

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