Plainfield Twp. seeks to create brownfield authority to redevelop distressed properties

BY Tuesday, October 13, 2020 03:36pm

PLAINFIELD TWP. — Plainfield Township officials are planning to create a brownfield authority to incentivize the redevelopment of distressed properties throughout the municipality north of Grand Rapids. 

At its Monday meeting, the Plainfield Township Board unanimously approved a resolution to move forward with creating a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for Oct. 26. The board would then vote on another resolution to create the authority before appointing five to nine members to the new brownfield board. 

Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden COURTESY PHOTO

“We’re looking for creative approaches to make sure that our largest community corridor is viable long into the future and looking to move away from auto-centric development,” Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden told MiBiz.

The township’s main business corridor is along Plainfield Avenue NE, north of 4 Mile Road NE. The township is bordered by North Division Avenue, 10 Mile Road NE and the city of Rockford to the northeast.

The plan is to have a brownfield authority that would apply to properties across the entire township, Van Wyngarden said. 

“The most likely candidates might be on the main corridor, but we also might have a former gas station that could really benefit from brownfield financing,” Van Wyngarden said. 

Municipalities can create a brownfield authority under the state’s Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act to facilitate the redevelopment of blighted or contaminated property, as well as the development of property owned by a county or state land bank.

The move is the township’s latest in an ongoing reimagining of future development. On July 13, the Plainfield Township Board approved a one-year moratorium on certain types of development along Plainfield Avenue between 4 Mile Road and Northland Drive, north of I-96. The moratorium temporarily halts the issuance of township permits, licenses, zoning approvals, rezoning or variance requests for any single-story commercial developments. 

“We have a citizen’s committee made up of residents and business owners that have been working closely for close to a year now on a redevelopment plan for the corridor,” Van Wyngarden said. “We didn’t want certain developments to get in ahead of the plan, which they are continuing to work on.”

The township anticipates completing the plan in spring 2021.

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