Planners look to Waldon, Main for development

Clarkston News Editor
Considering future development of Clarkston, the empty lot at Main Street and Waldon Road sticks out to the Clarkston Planning Commission.
Commission members agreed the 99,000-square-foot property, which was wooded before being made into a grass lot, should remain listed as residential in the new Master Plan Future Land Use Map.
“It does need to be developed (but) village commercial is probably too far,” said commission Chair Rich Little at the Dec. 3 meeting.
What kind of residential was still a topic of discussion.
“I’d like to see it zoned multiple family residential or planned mixed use,” said Sue Wylie, member of the Planning Commissioner and City Council. “It’s been empty too long.”
The property has been for sale for decades, with unfruitful plans over the years including a fire station and five residential lots.
“Let’s get it developed and get some tax revenue out of it,” Wylie said.
Commissioner Frank Schoebel said residential zoning is needed to maintain a boundary between commercial and residential areas of the city.
“The problem with mixed use is what could spring forward from that,” Schoebel said. “It’s one of the gateways to the city in the historic district – we can’t allow someone willy-nilly to put something in there.”
Commissioner Joe Luginski said the city went to court to keep the Sutherland House across the street residentially zoned.
“Multifamily, I don’t think that’s a problem,” Luginski said.
Al Avery, City Council member speaking from the audience, said his concern was keeping the door closed to commercial development.
“If we intimate it could be commercial down the road, that could be used against us in the future,” Avery said.
Little and Schoebel will research residential, residential multiple, and planned development zonings for presentation at the Jan. 7 Planning Commission meeting. The 63-day public review period of the proposed Master Plan update ends on Jan. 14.

One Response to "Planners look to Waldon, Main for development"

  1. Cory Johnston   December 6, 2018 at 8:15 am

    The original draft Master Plan and August 2018 Future Land Use Map had this property shown as residential without explanation. The version issued to the City Council with the October 2018 Future Land Use had it as commercial, again without explanation. The minutes of the November 5, 2018 Planning Commission call for it to be changed from VC (Village Commercial) to an undefined “Planned Mixed Use” without explanation. Now in December everyone appears to want it residential even though it has never been used for that or anything else, all before the public comments are in and a public hearing is held.
    There appears to be an unexplained fear and hatred of commercial use in the Village even though historically the Village was founded as the commercial center of the area and the city has allowed unfettered expansion of existing commercial, pocket commercial areas in residential, and little or no enforcement of buffering and protection between commercial and residential as required by the city’s Zoning Ordinance.
    Combine this with the fact that the existing and future land use maps do not indicate parking anywhere in the city and one has to wonder if anyone really understands land use, planning, and the purpose of a master plan.


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