Mining Site Plan Review Tabled by Planning Commission
If attendance numbers were tracked for Public Meetings, Thursday evening’s Planning Commission Meeting might have broken a new record. Approximately 80 people packed the Grass Lake Charter Township Hall to comment on, or just learn more about a proposed site plan for mining operations on Norvell Rd by L&L Development.
The Planning Commission was meeting to review a preliminary site plan in regards to a Special Land Use request is for 80 acres along the west side of Norvell Rd, just north of Phal Rd and south of Eagle Crest Subdivision. L&L Development LTD, located at 5405 E Michigan Ave, Jackson has applied for a Special Land Use for the purpose of “Removal and processing of topsoil, stone, rock, sand, gravel, lime or other soil or mineral resources.”
Planning Commission member John Lesinski said the site plan was tabled “for lack of information. The site plan was incomplete, so it could not be properly reviewed.”
The planning commission tabled the review until all the information has been submitted. At that time, the site plan review will be placed on the Planning Commission’s agenda.
Planning Commission members are appointed by the Township Board for 4 year terms. Those terms are staggered and do not coincide with the elected officials. One member of the Planning Commission is also a Township Trustee. The Planning Commissions decision in matters such as these are final, they do not go for review to the Township Board.
According to the Michigan Municipal League: “Early in the history of zoning, it was recognized that when reviewing zoning and land use matters, elected officials needed input from a group of individuals who were not affected by political concerns. Having a group of interested volunteers judge land use decisions for the community was intended to allow a wide range of views to be fairly represented.
Elected officials are representatives for the people in the community. As such, they are accountable to the voters. As a planning commission member on the other hand, you are a representative of the people. This means that the members of the commission represent the various interests found in the community, such as professionals, business owners and homemakers. In theory, this allows a planning commissioner to act without the political considerations that influence elected officials.
New development often brings out concerns over land use. Residents become concerned about losing the character of their community. Those who propose changes are acting to protect their own investment, whether personal or professional. Decision makers must, within the constraints of the law, allow for development which is consistent with the existing or planned character of the community and reject that which is not.”
Lesinski added” It was great to see people come out and be a part of the process. It is a process and this is just the beginning. The process is predefined by State Law and local ordinances and it is up to the Planning Commission to follow those rules and make sure the applicants do the same.”