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Augusta residents fight mobile home park

Mark Thompson-Kolar
The Ypsilanti Press

AUGUSTA TWP. — A crowd of nearly 80 residents showed fierce opposition to a rezoning proposal for a mobile home park at Tuesday night's planning commission meeting.

The proposal, presented by Ypsilanti lawyer Henry Ritchie, would change the zoning of about 49 acres on Whittaker Road near Talladay Road from residential to mobile home park zoning. The land is owned by Ypsilanti residents James and Barbara English.

Ritchie said the couple plans to convert the land to a park for 300 mobile homes because they have lost money farming it.

The crowd responded with almost unanimous opposition, applauding after each speaker finished.

Sharon Newton of Whittaker Road said, "I certainly don't want the traffic as well as the other problems such a development can bring."

Katherine Kersey, also of Whittaker Road, said: "I am concerned about property values. It has been a nice area and a quiet area. That's the way I'd like it to remain."

Another Whittaker Road resident, Ron Cheever, said: "I don't feel it would benefit the community in any way as a mobile home development. I'd much rather see 49 homes built on the lot."

Others expressed concern over the way the mobile homes would affect waiter drainage, tax levels, privacy, school populations, the ecology and demands on the police and fire departments.

Sebastian Derkowski, 8796 Talladay Road, presented the commission with a petition containing 343 signatures condemning the rezoning. Bridgette Powers of Whittaker Road offered one that held about 130 signatures.

Ritchie stressed several times that the homes could be built attractively, and that the plans could be altered to place 150 residences on the land.

"We can, and very well likely will, scale this project down," he told the crowd.

The commission will delay its decision on the petition until it reopens the public hearing at a future meeting, tentatively set for Oct. 10. The commission will decide only on whether to recommend the proposal to the Board of Trustees. The board would need to approve the plan for the rezoning to occur.

Even if the board passes the proposal, steps toward construction could be delayed by the township's moratorium on mobile home park applications. The moratorium will remain in effect until a new mobile home park ordinance, currently under scrutiny by the Michigan Mobile Home Commission, takes effect.

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