A private Christian school is a few steps closer to needed approvals to relocate and operate within a Genoa Township church.

Livingston Christian Schools or LCS has been working to relocate to the Brighton Church of the Nazarene but ended up locked in a lengthy legal battle with the township over denial of a special use permit. The township prevailed and the church appealed, with the ruling upheld. LCS has been renting space from the Whitmore Lake Schools district during the process. It revised plans and submitted a proposal for a K-12 school that better aligns with ordinances and requirements. No building modifications are required. Increased traffic and increased use of the site in general are the impacts as there will be school activities in addition to current church activities.

The Genoa Township Planning Commission met Monday night and reviewed the special use application, site plan and environmental impact assessment before voting to recommend conditional approval to the township board. No one spoke during a public hearing. The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Eric Rauch abstained from the discussion and vote as his children attend local Christian schools.

Traffic concerns were among past issues, which have been addressed according to Assistant Township Manager/Community Development Director Kelly VanMarter. She says there is room to handle the school traffic, and any potential stacking would occur on the site, not Brighton Road. She says updated counts were done because they wanted to make sure traffic, with the school in session and road projects at I-96 finished, weren’t going to be different than what was anticipated. LCS is also proposing to stagger start and end times, to help with the traffic impact on the nearby neighborhood.

The planning commission did stipulate that prior to any special use permit being issued, the different responsibilities of the school and church must be directly be spelled out and specifically identify who will pay for what. The parking lot upgrades and changes are required but due to the expanded use of the facility for the school, utility tap in fees of approximately $81,000 must be paid to the City of Brighton.

Finally, the school must provide enrollment reports to the township. If the student count exceeds 200, the driveway closest to the building where it narrows to two lanes would need to be widened. The driveway at Brighton Road is already three lanes. (JM)