HOLLY, Michigan – It’s back to work for Lonnie Heward and his partner, Julie, after the Village Council voted to accept attorney Richard Figura’s recommendation to grant Accurate Appraisals, Inc. a special land use permit for the use of their 105-107 Battle Alley office.
In August, members of the Planning Commission denied the Heward’s request for a special land use permit based on the fact that the business is non-retail.
Heward filed a lawsuit against the village of Holly and in September, council authorized Figura to look into the matter.
In a five-page letter addressed to Village President Pete Clemens and members of the Holly Village Council, Figura provided background information on Accurate Appraisals, detailing the history of Heward’s struggle from the time he applied for a special land use permit on July 22 to the Aug. 26 Planning Commission denial.
“Following discussion by the commission, a motion was made to deny the special land use request, ‘as it does not meet the intent of the zoning ordinance or master plan’,” Figura summarized in the letter. The Petition for Review was filed in the Oakland County Circuit Court on Sept. 16.
In his analysis, Figura said the intent of the Central Business District (CDB) zoning district is set forth in Section 1000 of the zoning ordinance which provides in relevant part, “These special regulations are intended to promote development of a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use district, consisting of a variety of retail, office, and service uses.”
Additionally, Figura’s analysis included more verbiage from Section 1000, stating, “Uses should reflect the traditional small-town character of the area and have a design that accommodates pedestrian-shopper movement, rather than an orientation to primary automobile movement. A mixture of uses within a building, such as retail on the ground floor and office or residential on the upper floors is permitted.”
Figura said that although there is a suggestion that office uses be allowed on the second floor of a building with retail use on the ground floor, it is not mandated by the section, and there is nothing else in the zoning ordinance that requires location of an office use on an upper floor. “Meanwhile, the proposed use (appraisal and real estate office) otherwise meets the intent of the CBD zoning district,” Figura wrote.
On Wednesday, Lonnie and Julie attended the bi-weekly merchant’s meeting before officially opening their doors for business.
“It’s finally over,” Julie said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We’re ready to move on and put all of this behind us.”