Parks Committee member opposes undeveloped land sale

FLINT TWP. — Speaking during public comment at a recent township board meeting, Peter Mikelens, a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee, asked the board to reject any current or future offers to purchase about 82 acres of open land that belongs to the township. The property in question is generally bounded by Calkins Road, Court Street, Elms Road and Dye Road, Mikelens said. He referenced an offer of $214,000 to purchase the land, adding that it would not be a significant windfall for the township budget nor compensate for the loss of opportunity to eventually develop the property as a multifunctional park. “This 82 acres is surrounded by mature residential development and is not contiguous with any industrial property,” Mikelens said. Further, the property lacks frontage on any major street and is the only one of its kind in the township. Residents have indicated interest in using the area as a park, if and when it is developed, Mikelens said.

He based his arguments on its incompatibility with the five-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan for 2016-2020. According to that plan, the township already is greatly lacking in the recommended 6.5 to 10.5 acres of developed open space per 1,000 residents. A survey indicated that 80 percent of residents use parks for walking, biking and jogging and 60 percent support funding for parks expansion.

Some township board members appeared not to be aware of an offer to buy the property.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said the property has received three purchase offers. Two were below asking price and a third raised questions that are being reviewed by the township attorney. She indicated that purchase offer came “from overseas” and their “intentions” for the property are unclear.

She also concurred with Mikelens that the offer had not yet been formally presented for review by the parks and rec.committee.

Township Trustee Barb Vert, who is a member of the parks and rec.committee, said it was the first she had heard of it.

Miller said she would like time to refer the offer to the parks and rec.committee before further action is taken. Trustee Frank Kasle moved that the property also be taken off the market and was supported in a 5-2 vote. Vert and Trustee Belenda Parker voted no. In a separate matter, the township board unanimously agreed to sell three undeveloped floodplain properties to a local resident.

The properties are located in the Riverview Subdivision in the vicinity of Gray and Kissner avenues and Mitson Boulevard, north of the Flint River. The properties were put out for sealed bids by the township and received one response for $1,200 from Steve Malis, a nearby property owner who has been maintaining and mowing the lots for at least 20 years.

The properties fell off the tax rolls circa the late 1970s to early 1980s, according to Tracey Tucker, township building director. Malis’ offer will return them to the tax rolls.

Malis offered $600 for one parcel and $300 each for the other two. He cannot build on the land because it lies in a floodplain, Tucker said.

The board voted unanimously to accept Malis’ offer.

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