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Chelsea Planning Commission tables rezoning request

By Lisa Carolin

Following a public hearing on the subject, the Chelsea Planning Commission discussed a petition received from St. Joseph Mercy, Inc. to rezone two parcels of land located along the north side of the intersection of East Old US 12 and Fairways Lane.

The rezoning request is from RS-2 (Single Family Residential District-Moderate Density) to MC (Medical Center District). The lots total 3.32 acres, are vacant, and are owned by Silver Maples Chelsea.

Silver Maples CEO Julie Deppner explained to the planning commission that Silver Maples has been in the process of swapping land with St. Joseph Mercy, Inc. for 10 years and plans to swap these particular lots for a piece of land more contiguous to Silver Maples.

Several members of the Planning Commission were concerned over the long list of permitted uses that are part of a Medical Center District. Those uses include laboratories, recreational facilities, dwelling units, childcare facilities, ambulance stations, a helicopter landing pad, and even a hospital.

Julia Upfal, Chelsea’s community development director, said that the applicant, St. Joseph Mercy, Inc., asked for the property to be used for medical offices. However, members of the Planning Commission pointed out that the applicant could change its intended use after the rezoning is approved.

Dave Raymond, a member of St. Joseph Mercy, Inc.’s planning group, spoke at the meeting and said the plan is to build a neighborhood clinic on the parcels. He said that it would not be an emergency facility and explained that there is a backlog of people waiting for appointments, and the purpose of the clinic would be to help with the medical needs of the growing Chelsea community.

During the public hearing, one neighbor to the property, who lives on Fairways Lane, expressed concern over not knowing what to anticipate as well as expecting that any kind of medical facility would cause traffic in that area to worsen.

Upfal said that a traffic impact study will have to be done.

The Planning Commission voted (Adam Ellison and Peter Shaw absent) to table the application and discuss it at a work session in early November to determine the exact process needed to be taken.

The planning commission also chose its officers: Larry Ledebur is chair, Claire Robinson is vice chair, and Sarah Haselschwardt is secretary.

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