A group of Clinton Township condo owners do not want a Groesbeck Freeway driveway used to provide parking for employees of a Mount Clemens pottery store, saying it could lead to unsavory behavior from from passers-by.
Members of the Rose Meadows condominiums believe that the parking lot could attract troublemakers. In recent years, the owners have collected trash, empty alcohol containers, paraphernalia used for drug use and even a mattress used for sex acts by prostitutes.
Some 17 homeowners have signed a petition against the plan, which is to be voted on Monday evening by the Clinton Township Board of Directors. They say the plot of land is within 20 feet of their residences.
“Based on activity in the Big Boy gated parking lot and the aforementioned former parking lot, undesirable activity will occur if parking is permitted,” residents said in a petition asking that the proposal be denied.
A retailer that has yet to open called JARS Cannabis, located on the Groesbeck Highway north of Cass Avenue, is requesting to change the B3 general business zoning to parking lot to accommodate parking behind the store.
The store is physically located in Mount Clemens, but the driveway provided for parking is on Ferndale Street, located immediately behind the building, a few yards from the city line with Clinton Township. That’s why the company needs municipal approval to pave and fence the employee parking lot under one acre.
On Sunday evening, a JARS Cannabis co-owner told Macomb Daily that he met with one of the condo owners who created the petition to ease some of his concerns. Stavros Toma said the landlord was unaware of plans to fully landscape the parking lot so that it is not visible to condos, and that the lot will be electronically televised as a security measure.
“This parking lot will only be used by employees,” Toma said.
Toma said following the meeting, the condo owners withdrew their objections. The condo’s petition was included in a backup information package prepared for township administrators.
Over objections from the director of planning and the township attorney, the Clinton Township Planning Commission voted in January to approve the change and forward it to the board of directors for a final decision.
Commission members said there was not much chance the plot would be developed other than parking. They believe that with the protective measures JARS plans to take, the finished product will be an asset to the community.
Planning director Bruce Thompson’s analysis shows that the owners of the now vacant property have failed to demonstrate how the proposal would be compatible with adjacent properties. He also notes that the use is for an outlet for marijuana, which is prohibited by township law.
Residents of the state’s most populous township voted in March 2020 to reject a plan supporting the opening of recreational marijuana facilities. Recreational users can smoke pot at home, but they are not allowed to grow it.
Additionally, notes Thompson, the master plan designates the property as part of a redevelopment corridor, which is designed to promote high-quality, traffic-friendly and pedestrian-friendly development.
A parking lot does not meet those criteria, Thompson said.
Additionally, the township attorney concluded that the use of the property should be measured against the health and well-being of the community in which it is located, not an adjacent community.
JARS is a Michigan-owned cannabis retailer with stores in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and elsewhere. The company plans to open facilities in Center Line and Mount Clemens this year
Lawyer Robert Kirk, representing the JARS Group, said it would be “unrealistic” to expect the site to be developed. He said the land will be improved by adding paved ground, landscaping, lights and a security system, adding that the land is not for customers as there is already space in Mount Clemens, but for employees.
“The proposed rezoning should be considered on its own merits, with respect to the parcel in question and without regard to the ordinances and jurisdiction of any adjacent community,” Kirk wrote in the township filings. “The requested rezoning is consistent with Clinton Township’s long-term land use plans.”
He said there is no requirement in Clinton Township ordinances that a parking neighborhood relate to a specific use. The company intends to operate a licensed store authorized by Mount Clemens ordinances.
The board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center, 40700 Romeo Plank Road.