Meijer files lawsuit against Plymouth Township
Aug. 16, 2023 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
A legal battle is heating up between Grand Rapids based retailer Meijer and Plymouth Township over the proposed development of a new 159,000 square-foot grocery store and gas station on Five Mile west of Beck Road.
On Aug. 9, Meijer along with their Southfield-based developer Redico LLC filed a lawsuit against Plymouth Township in the Wayne County Circuit Court to appeal the denial of their proposal. The complaint argues that the Township Planning Commission’s decision to reject their proposal was not based on sufficient evidence.
The complaint states the commission rejected the proposal through reasoning “not supported by competent, material and substantial evidence on the record.”
According to news outlets and Crain’s Detroit Business, the lawsuit asks the court to overturn the Plymouth Township’s Planning Commission decision to deny Meijer’s special land use request.
On June 21 after a three-hour meeting, including two hours of comments from rowdy, angry, agitated residents and non-residents, the township planners voted 5-1 to deny a special land use request from the Grand Rapids-based retail chain. Upset attendees raised concerns about increased traffic, crime, disruption to the community’s character, and the availability of other grocery options nearby.
Meijer and Redico claim that the Planning Commission’s reasoning for denying the special land use request is either unrealistic or ambiguous.
The plaintiffs argue that traffic concerns are unsupported by the record and that the Michigan International Technology Center Authority plans to make road improvements in the area. The appeal also argues that the claim that the project is not in line with the MITC’s intent is vague and without substance.
Township Supervisor Kurt Heise, who reportedly supports the Meijer development, declined to comment due to pending litigation, according to Crains.
In a recently published letter, Heise said outsiders opposed to the new Meijer development “Engaged in some of the most egregious behavior this Township has ever seen in a public meeting – with agitators and other ‘ringers’ brought in to disrupt and intimidate the volunteer commissioners…“
Northville Township residents in 2016 protested a proposal for a similar 170,000 square-foot Meijer store and gas station at Five Mile and Beck Road – just two miles east of the current planned development. Residents said they were not pleased with the plan and said the large development would disturb the quiet atmosphere of the area. Residents also expressed concerns about the traffic flow and patterns at the proposed site and questioned the density of the planned single-family homes at the site.
The plaintiffs in the case filed last week are represented by attorney Alan M. Green assigned to the court of Judge Brian R. Sullivan.
Green represented Plymouth/Haggerty Associates, LLC, then owner of Plymouth Towne Center on Ann Arbor Road, west of Haggerty Road in a 2014 legal action whose tenants in the development included CVS drug store, Grand Traverse Pie Co., Leo’s Coney Island and an Xfinity store. The largest tenants in the development were to have been LA Fitness, but 11 years after signing a consent agreement, claimed township failed to approve the LA Fitness plans, according to court filings. The subject court hearing was also held before Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan.