Township halts development to seek ‘new directions’ for Plainfield Ave. corridor

BY Monday, July 20, 2020 04:56pm

PLAINFIELD TWP. — Township officials have placed a one-year moratorium on single-story commercial development requests along the Plainfield Avenue corridor in an effort to reimagine the area through new zoning regulations. 

The Plainfield Township Board unanimously passed the resolution at its July 13 meeting to temporarily halt certain types of development in the township. The moratorium immediately went into effect and applies to Plainfield Avenue between Four Mile Road and Northland Drive, north of I-96. 

Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden COURTESY PHOTO

“Our board is very much interested in seeing new directions for the corridor,” said Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden. “We’re hitting the pause button on new development requests until we can come up with a clear plan.”

The moratorium does not allow the issuance of township permit, license, zoning approval, rezoning or variance requests for any single-story commercial developments. 

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed plans to reshape development for the corridor, though officials have continued gathering public input, Van Wyngarden said. 

“A strong theme is a desire to move away from low-scale development that is very land-intensive with single-story structures and large parking lots,” he said. 

The moratorium was proposed as a way to “make sure nothing slips through the cracks,” and to give the Reimagine Plainfield citizen’s committee more time to complete a corridor study and offer recommendations to the township board, Van Wyngarden said. The committee is made up of local residents and business owners.

During the moratorium, the Plainfield Township board and planning commission will also investigate potential modifications to the zoning ordinance that can establish regulations on new one-story commercial, office and business buildings along Plainfield Avenue.

The moratorium does not apply to expansions or modifications of existing single-story developments that existed as of July 1, as long as the footprint is not expanded by more than 20 percent, according to the resolution.

Many buildings along the corridor are built to house chain restaurants and lack flexibility for new uses, Van Wyngarden explained.

“We do want to make clear that this should be seen as looking to the future of our community and shouldn’t be seen as anti-business,” Van Wyngarden said.

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