Neighbors unite, speak out against rezoning of Sparr’s property

 Neighbors unite, speak out against rezoning of Sparr’s property

Sparr’s has been in business near the intersection of Joy and Lilley roads for close to six decades. Photo by Alfred Brock

Longtime local florist Sparr’s Flowers & Greenhouse was under the heat lamp, so to speak, at Wednesday night’s Plymouth Township Planning Commission meeting, but no one was in the mood to discuss plants.

A parade of township residents vehemently spoke out against a conditional rezoning proposal that could potentially lead to the construction of multi-family apartments and a 6,000-square-foot commercial/retail building on the five-acre plot that is currently occupied by Sparr’s multi-building set-up and three residential homes.

Following over 90 minutes of citizens’ comments — many voicing fears of increased traffic woes apartments would create near the already congested intersection — the board of commissioners voted 5-1 to recommend that the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees deny the conditional rezoning proposal (from R-1 to C-2) presented by applicant Naji Kahala (MZY Investments Corp.), whose purchase of the property was finalized in December of 2022.

Plan could still bloom

The vote does not mean the site will not ultimately be redeveloped as the board of trustees can go against the planning commission’s recommendation once it hears the developer’s plan at a future board of trustees meeting. The topic will more than likely appear on a board of trustees meeting agenda in June as there is only one meeting scheduled for May.

Sparr's has been in business for close to six decades. Photo by Alfred Brock
Sparrs Flowers and Greenhouse has been serving communities in western Wayne County for close to six decades

Wednesday’s public hearing was just the first of many steps that would be required for the development to unfold.

If the conditional rezoning was approved, the developer would use a Planned Unit Development process “to create a mixed-use site”, a document in the meeting’s agenda packet explained.

“The existing Sparr’s Flowers and Greenhouses will remain as part of this project,” the document explains. “The existing greenhouses will be repaired and improved, the existing sales, office and work building will be refreshed.”

Weeding out damaged greenhouses

Several greenhouses in disrepair on the north section of the property would be demolished to make space for the multi-family apartments with the undeveloped corner near the intersection being developed into a light commercial/retail building with a possible drive-through business on the south side of the new building, the document detailed.

An aerial view of the property affected
An aerial view of the property affected

The three existing residential homes would be demolished, the document suggested.

The developer stated that the community would benefit from the development as the northwest corner of Joy and Lilley roads would “be improved per Wayne County standards and storm-water control would be designed per Wayne County standards.”

Standing-room only

The township meeting room was jam-packed with residents who voiced their frustration with the proposal.

Not a single commenter spoke in favor of the plan.

Several neighbors who live in a subdivision that is located adjacent to the west border of the Sparr’s property were concerned that the building of apartments would negatively impact their neighborhood’s quality of life — and that a paved parking lot would increase flooding of nearby Tonquish Creek.

Plymouth-based Friends of the Rouge wrote a letter to the planning commission — the letter was read during the meeting by planning commission secretary Gail Geiger — to voice its opposition of the proposed development because of the potential harm it would cause the creek.




Ed Wright

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