Judge to rule on zoning for grocery store and complex
A judge will decide if he thinks a developer was unconstitutionally denied use of property in Plainfield Township.
Final arguments were heard it the downtown Grand Rapids courtroom of Dennis Leiber. Developer BDR proposed a grocery store, gas station, medical facility, office and restaurant plan at property at Northland Drive and Seven Mile Road. The 30-acre parcel is labeled residential in the township’s Master Plan.
On Monday, November 9, attorneys for the township and developers made their final summation in the case.
Jennifer Decker, for BDR, ask the court to issue an injunction against the township for preventing her clients from developing the property as they see fit.
She argued that there was no other reasonable use for the land and her clients were being denied their constitutional right.
She stated that the property was unsuited to residential development because of its proximity to a gravel mining operation, Northland Drive, power lines, a Consumers Energy substation and an M-Dot parking lot. She also stated the cost of development for residential would be exorbitant.
She also said there is no market for other uses allowed under the zoning, such as schools, nursing homes or churches.
In addition to the complaint against the township for allowing the development, she asked the judge to award her client over $2.3 million for the money lost while trying to get the property rezoned.
The township’s attorney, Jim Nelson, said, “The bottom line is the plaintiff’s complaint that this property is only worth $430,000.”
He said to most people, a 30-acre property valued at $430,000 would be considered pretty good. “BDR comes into this with the attitude that ‘I can convert a Volkswagon into a Cadillac,’” he said. He defended the township against claims that the zoning was arbitrary and capricious.
He stated the zoning was not decided by “a couple of people in a back room,” but is long-standing and has been given much thought. He said the “fatal flaw” in the developer’s case was to have purchased the property knowing it is residential.
After hearing the one-hour presentations by both attorney, Judge Leiber thanked them and said he would take the issue under his consideration.