Chikaming Planners Launch Sawyer Streetscape Project Process | News

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HARBERT – The future of downtown Sawyer began to take shape at the Chikaming Township Planning Commission meeting on December 1.

President John Chipman said about 21 people attended a gathering of local landowners and business owners in the center of the township on November 16 by the Berrien County Roads Department which exhibited “a spirit of cooperation “.

According to Chipman’s notes from the meeting, Kevin Stack of the Roads Department spoke about planned improvements for Sawyer Road starting at the Red Arrow Freeway and ending at the intersection with Flynn Road.

Although a construction date has not yet been determined (December 1, it was expected that the project would take place before or after July 4), Sawyer Road will not be closed during construction, but closures of lanes will be used. .

Highways Department plans call for Sawyer Road from the Red Arrow Freeway to approximately Arlington Drive to remain two-lane with an 11-foot driving lane and a 5-foot shoulder (on one or both sides) with possible repair / replacement of driveway tubes, culverts, drains and ditch lines.

It has not been determined whether the Sawyer Road starting at Arlington Drive to the rail line will be three or four lanes, as traffic studies are underway.

The entrances to the T / A roadhouse and Tatro Drive will be redesigned and defined with curbs and gutters. The new asphalt will be designed for commercial traffic.

From the railroad tracks to Flynn Road, the Roads Department’s part of the project will be curb-to-curb only, as the parallel parking lots and sidewalks belong to the Township of Chikaming.

On December 1, Chipman said the five-foot apron (or shoulder) that would start at Red Arrow Highway will hopefully connect all the way to downtown Sawyer to make room for pedestrians.

He said the county part of the project will cover its 66 feet or so, so design issues provide an opportunity to bring in a professional planning consultant (as has been done in the projects of Union Pier and Harbert streetscape) to help shape Sawyer’s future.

“The community could have a say and have a voice as to what is going on,” Chipman said. “And that would be the streetscape, the curbs, the parking lot, the fire station property, all of those things.”

Chipman also said he believed there was an opportunity for the economic development of the post office at Flynn Road.

Ultimately, the planners agreed to recommend that city council approve the collaboration with the Antero group (who are currently finishing the details of the Harbert Streetscape / Community Park project and also helping to create the new look of Union Pier. ) on Sawyer’s design. It was noted that Antero Group is also suitable for applying for grants.

Also on December 1, planners voted 7-0 in favor of initial approval of the site plan for the House Section event hall at 5896 Sawyer Road (which will be established in the former Sawyer Hardware & Lumber building. ).

“We’re going for brides, weddings, we’re going for something beautiful,” said Drew Ytterberg, who, along with his father, Brad, is spearheading the project. “I think everything we do on the property… will be a huge improvement.”

Much of the sitemap discussion revolved around the landscaping of the site – specifically a lot-size-based formula that requires the planting of 54 trees (according to zoning administrator Kelly Largent). The zoning ordinance does not specify where on the property the trees are to be planted.

Rob Andrew of Merritt Midwest said he thinks 54 trees is a bit overkill and doesn’t seem to make much design sense.

Chipman said he thinks they only need about half of that number of trees because only about half of the property is used for the event center project…. The rear will not be visible (fenced and location of a retention basin).

It was later noted that existing trees can be counted, but Brad Ytterberg said they wanted to plant trees.

Andrew said the building was purchased in 2012 and raised it to a pretty good standard, but “we’re really taking it to a much higher standard here.”

He said the area behind the building will be cleaned and cleared for a retention pond.

Several members of the Planning Commission welcomed the proposal to include 80 parking spaces (63 would be the minimum required).

A 0.8 acre portion of the land (the remainder covering 2.98 acres) is leased to CSX, which would have approved the project …

A floor plan and other detailed information will be provided for the next public hearing (scheduled for January 5) when the planning committee may vote on the final review of the site plan for recommendation to city council.

In a separate Dec. 1 case, Largent said the developer of the Union Green development project at Union Pier had inquired about the deadline for submitting an impact study for the January Planning Commission meeting.

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