The Genoa Township Planning Commission again reviewed plans for a proposed rural, farm lifestyle store during last week's meeting.

Family Farm and Home is looking to move in to the old T.J. Maxx building in the Grand River plaza shopping center. The inside of the store would be renovated but would feature a commercial outdoor display, sales and storage area that must be sufficiently screened. Lengthy review and discussion was held during Monday night’s Genoa Township Planning Commission meeting but progress appears to have been made. That was in part because some changes were made to plans since the February meeting that the commission had not yet seen, including proposed outdoor trailer storage. The amount of impervious surface, outdoor storage for display trailers, and a survey to make sure there is enough volume in a storm water detention pond were all topics of focus. Spaces for short term parking will also be added. The petitioners were commended on other areas of plans, with it being noted the site does have some unique conditions. Although the special use application, environmental impact assessment and site plan were all tabled, it appeared that progress was made.

Commission chairman Doug Brown told WHMI one of the key elements the township has wanted for years is an access between the Meijer property and the plaza property. He says they seem to have an opening this year that the property owner of the plaza will provide an easement agreement, that they could make the connection if and when Meijer comes to the forefront to develop the roadway. Brown feels that would be a plus for Meijer, as well as other businesses in the area, which includes a bank and Buffalo Wild Wings. Brown says relocating the outdoor trailer storage from the very southern property line closer to the building seemed to fly with the commissioners, and he thinks the petitioner and property owner liked the idea Commissioner Chris Grajek came up with up. Brown said various other issues such as fencing and height seemed to fall into place after that.

The petitioners were directed to incorporate everything discussed and bring back updated plans for potential approvals. Brown says the petitioners and property owner will need to go back to determine if the changes will be cost effective or not. He says they should know in about a week and then get things set up for the next meeting to review what is hopefully the final product.

A representative from a jewelry store in the plaza spoke in favor of the prospect of having a new tenant during a public hearing and encouraged the commission to approve the Family Farm project. The general disrepair of the shopping center and parking lot was noted during the meeting and it was further disclosed that Bon-Ton, which operates Carson’s, has filed for bankruptcy. However, there has been no indication of what the impact will be on the local store. Photo: Google Street View. (JM)