BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
At the site of what was originally going to be a bank with a drive-thru on the east side of Sashabaw Road, north of I-75 and south of Flemings Lake Road, the land will now be home to an 8000-square-foot surgical center.
At a special meeting April 28 of the Independence Township Planning Commission, the final site plan gained unanimous approval from the five members of the commission who were present – Brian Galley, Tim Loughrin, Tom Pytel, Ron Ritchie, and Judy Tully. David Boersma and Brent Savidant were absent from the meeting, which lasted just 22 minutes.
The applicant, Independence Plaza LLC, of Bloomfield Hills, will construct the center on a parcel of land known as the Sashabaw Road Town Center Overlay District. The site is part of the Sashabaw Crossing condominium occupied by the Comfort Inn and proposed to be occupied by Art and Jake’s (formerly Ruby Tuesdays). No natural features in the area will be disturbed.
“We’ve looked at the floor plans and elevations, and the building is very attractive and will be built with quality materials,” Independence Township Planning and Zoning Director Brian Oppmann said at the meeting. “Obviously, with the overlay district, there are two community design features and they have provided those by using the community for the decorative lighting and also a park bench.
“There are really no issues from a planning perspective, and we recommend final site plan approval.”
Medical and dental offices, including clinics, are permitted in this area. The proposed center will perform outpatient procedures only and requires a Certificate of Need from the state.
However, since the proposed project is located in the overlay district, special land use approval is required, and this was granted by the planning commission back on February 10, 2022.
The proposed plan meets all setback requirements except the front build-to line, but the applicant received a variance from the Independence Township Zoning Board of Appeals on March 2, 2022.
As recommended, the building has been moved forward to align with the addition to the front of Art and Jake’s. This also provides more dedicated parking directly behind the surgical center.
“I think this is a very good-placed building and very good high quality,” said Jordan Jonna, of AF Jonna Development and Management Company, who has been working with the township on the site plans, at the meeting. “My dad started out in the township back in the 1980s, and he has developed a lot here, so I’m happy to be developing another building on Sashabaw Road.”
Austin Armstrong, also from AF Jonna, was at the meeting and discussed how the site plans had changed since the original submission to meet township regulations, including landscaping and the aforementioned parking situation.