Local business property fails to achieve commercial status

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         A local business person won’t be able to open a tattoo parlor across from Windemere  Park Charter Academy.

        The Lansing Township Board of  Trustees recently declined to change the zoning that would have allowed that business and a smoke shop at 3205 Saginaw Street.

        An upgrade from the zone’s current local business status to a commercial zonewould have allowed Noel Abood to open up a tattoo shop, as well as a smoke shop, according to Abood’s lawyer, Matthew Schultz.

        The Board of Trustees ultimately decided too many things detrimental to the surrounding area could result from the rezoning, voting 6-0 against the rezoning.

        An increase in out-of-town traffic and a shortage of parking spaces, which would spill over into nearby neighborhoods, were risks of rezoning the business lot, according to Matt Brinkley, senior planner of Lansing Township.

        The commercial zone Abood requested is intended to bring in a greater variety of business than the zone would allow and attract a larger audience from outside the township where the business is located, Brinkley said.

        There were also concerns regarding content matter of the incoming stores, according to a local citizen.

They should not be in our neighborhood or across from a school,” said Diane Kelly, a resident of the community bordering the business lot in question.  Kelly said the businesses were not the type of things the kids needed to see every day. 

        Windemere Charter Academy, the school referred to by Kelly, should not have to worry about the stores, because the school is “kitty corner” to the businesses and not directly across the street, Schultz said.

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Windemere Park Charter Academy

         Without the “up zoning” the lot the tattoo parlor would move into would be very hard to fill in a tough economy, Schultz said.  He also said the decision of the board not to upgrade the zone was arbitrary, as similar properties had been rezoned in the past.

        Brinkley said it was important for the planning commission to focus not only on the immediate impacts of the rezoning, but also on future ramifications.

A lot of deliberation went into the decisions to up zone properties to a more intensive commercial level,” Brinkley said, “and in every instance there was a debate about the impact of up zoning on the surrounding neighborhood.”

        Brinkley said that the property in question was part of an area holding the last remaining stretch of local business zones.  If the board were to rezone this lot to commercial, it would open the door for surrounding businesses to do the same.  The end result would be a lack of local business to serve the nearby community, which is what the zone’s current local business status encourages.

        While the request for a rezoning was denied, Abood could still pursue a variance for the tattoo shop.  Variances make exceptions for certain businesses depending on how fit they are for the area, said Diontrae Hayes, a trustee for Lansing Township.

       For a look at how the zones are laid out across Lansing Township, click here.


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