Planning commission to vote on lifting moratorium on future warehouse development at Pinnacle property

HURON HUB FILE PHOTO

Posted Monday, June 7, 2021

The Huron Township Planning Commission will vote during a meeting on Monday to lift a moratorium placed on future warehouse development at the Pinnacle property on the northern edge of the township.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Township Hall, 22950 Huron River Drive in New Boston.

If the planning commission decides to lift the moratorium, the decision will then go to the Huron Board of Trustees for approval.

Below is a statement from the township emailed to The Huron Hub from the clerk’s office, regarding the background on the projects at the Pinnacle property.

Link to statement

Proposed Pinnacle Development Overview

Background

Huron Township, Michigan – Hillwood/Sterling Group

In August 2019, Huron Township (“Township”) was presented with the opportunity to have two, substantially-sized buildingsbuilt on the 600-acre property known as the Pinnacle property. The Township Planning Commission and Township Board approved these building with the understanding that there would be a moratorium placed on future warehouse/distribution buildings in the PDD and I-1 Districts. The rationale for this approach was to “slow down” in order to better understand and address the communities’ concern around truck traffic and other impacts prior to additional approvals for warehouse and distribution uses.

In late 2020, the owners of the Pinnacle property were approached by Home Depot with interest to build a distribution facility at the property. The property owners approached the Township with this information and worked together to discuss the potential positive and negative impacts of such a project and to see if there was a way that it could be beneficial for both the Township and the property owners.

The issues that the Township identified regarding warehouse development generally were regarding: 1) truck traffic, 2) the desire to attract quality retail/commercial development to create a mixed-use environment, 3) the image of Sibley Road and 4) the preference to attract a manufacturing operation to the site.

After extensive and very constructive discussions, the Township representatives and property owners identified an excitingsolution that not only address the issues raised by the community and Township, but one that could actually create greater opportunity economic and recreational for the areagenerally. The idea was to strike a balance between allowing a quality warehouse development at the Pinnacle property while also creating enhanced benefits for the Township.

Strategy

A holistic approach was employed by Township representatives,the development team, and transportation engineers in order to study Township concerns, and respond to them, while simultaneously attracting more desirable commercial activity. It was noted on multiple occasions that, despite local ordinances and restrictions, truck traffic can originate from surrounding communities and is not exclusively sourced from within the Township. Consequently, it became clear that through strategic design with sound planning principles, a multitude of goals could be achieved.

After significant study and analysis, the concept of a revised, well-designed Sibley Road boulevard was put forth as a solution that will have the ability to address the issues previously outlined by the Township. These benefits include:1) General Benefits – Sibley Road Boulevard Re-Designa. The current design for the boulevard is essentially a Class A, truck route. The proposed boulevard re-design would discourage truck traffic and allow for a more commercial/retail/pedestrian friendly environment.b. Wayne County is agreeable to this re-design approach.Costs for the re-design and construction will be borne by developer and Wayne County. Huron Township will not be responsible for such costs. Initial discussions between the County and the developer are occurring, however, timing of design and construction and costs therefore will be determined once the Township can commit to lift its moratorium.2) Functional Benefits – Sibley Road Boulevard Re-Designa. Slower vehicle speeds and limited turnaround capability will deter truck trafficb. Safer for motorists and pedestriansc. Slower speeds, improved efficiency/site visibility will serve as a catalyst to attract quality mixed-use/retail uses like hotels and restaurants that have been sought after in the Township and deter “low end” retail prospectsd. Enhance the image of Sibley Road and create a Huron Township “gateway experience” from I-2753) Truck Traffica. Implementing sound design strategies that have positive, practical implications (i.e. limited boulevard turnaround dimensions, smaller scale lane width, pedestrian crossings, aesthetic design improvements, etc.) is more effective than trying to solve truck traffic concerns via restrictions (i.e. No left Turn, No Trucks Permitted, etc.)b. The proposed design will allow for increased, quality warehouse/distribution development while focusing truck traffic away from areas of concern to the community and Township.4) Additional Benefits and Points of Information – Home Depot/Sibley Road Boulevard Re-Designa. Permitting the new Home Depot and associated boulevard enhancements could allow for an LDFA to be created that, in turn, could finance the desired grade alignment at Pennsylvania Road.b. The moratorium would only be removed from the PDD District and would remain in the I-1 Light Industrial and I-2 Heavy Industrial Districts. Trucking or warehousing would still not be permitted anywhere else in the Township.c. A manufacturing user may generate the same, if not more traffic and impact, than this Home Depotfacility. In addition, manufacturing can request a PA 198 Tax Abatement which would likely reduce, or eliminate the ability for an LDFA.

Conclusion

The 2019 moratorium placed on future warehouse/distribution buildings in the PDD and I-1 Districts made logical sense for stakeholders at that time. The moratorium period has allowed for significant deliberation, analysis and study regarding all of the concerns that have been shared previously. During this time new information and opportunity has emerged that allows for a unique alignment of opportunities that can result in a true “win-win” for everyone. The proposed Home Depot facility can serve as a catalyst for a redesigned Sibley Road Boulevard (at no cost to Huron Township) which will result in: improved traffic patterns in the area, an attractive and upgraded image which will help to attract quality retailers, and an improved tax base for the community.


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