One of the most crucial aspects of zoning and master plans for townships, villages and cities is making sure a commercial, industrial, residential or agricultural use at a site makes sense.
That’s exactly what seems to be the case in the 600 block of North Main Street in Wayland, just north of the Michigan State Police post. Though the property with four buildings at the corner of Oak and North Main is zoned for retail business, it is much better suited for industrial purposes.
Property owners Rita Martin and Dave Hager told the City Planning Commission Tuesday night they want to sell the site, but prospective buyers have no interest in setting up retail shops. Potential buyers have said they’re much more interested in using and remodeling the four existing buildings for industrial purposes.
A visit to that neighborhood confirms that assessment. Though it’s across the street from an abandoned Little League field and from the police post, it is next to Waco Sales, a retail business that also provides small and engine and machine repair services. And Waco actually is located in Leighton Township.
Though it’s apparent the city’s master plan somehow envisions that four-building site as some kind of quaint retail business complex, reality says otherwise. As Hager told the commission, the size and shape of the buildings are much more suitable for light industry with their tall overhanging doors.
The four buildings at the site have been underused for too long after Quality Pools exited many years ago. Every effort should be made to have all four occupied and active. The only restraints should be hours of operation and noise, which certainly could be kept to a minimum. Though residences are nearby, they aren’t close enough to be bothered a great deal if great care is taken to limit noise and hours.
If Martin and Hager can sell that site to an industry that will brings jobs to the city, it’s a potential boon to this area. And that sure beats a lot with four buildings, but nothing really happening.
To be sure, the city already has an industrial area on the southwest side and in certain areas near Railroad Street, but rezoning this piece of property and keeping the four existing buildings for a different use makes good economic sense. As does attracting a jobs-creating industry that intends to be a good neighbor.
In a nutshell, I urge city officials resolutely: Let’s do this.