Willowbrook Manor seeks rezoning

FLINT TWP. — Interested parties will have at least two more chances for input before a rezoning takes effect at Willowbrook Manor Nursing Home, 4436 Beecher Road.

After a public hearing last week, the township Planning Commission approved a request to rezone two adjacent parcels from single family residential to multi-family residential.

Willowbrook is buying the vacant parcels with the intent to expand its parking lot, said Tracey Tucker, township building inspector.

They are requesting the rezoning so that all three parcels will have consistent zoning, she said. Willowbrook is currently zoned multi-family residential.

No representatives from Willowbrook attended the public hearing but one resident came with questions about how the new zoning would be used.

Mark Bezinque, who said he is the sole neighbor across the street from the nursing home, did not object to the rezoning but wanted to know how the property could be used once rezoned.

For example, he asked if they could decide to use it to construct an apartment building instead of a parking lot.

Tucker said that once the property is rezoned, any permitted use would probably be allowed, but the parcel is too small to accommodate an apartment building because of the driveway and easement.

She also said any changes in use requiring a building permit would have to come back before the Planning Commission for approval.

Planning Commission Chairman Larry Ford said that usually when a petitioner is not present, a request is tabled until they can come in to answer questions.

But based on answers Tucker provided, commissioners chose to proceed with their decision since the proposed rezoning still must be approved by the Township Board.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, who was at the meeting, said the first reading likely would be placed on agenda for the board’s July 20 meeting. The second and final reading would take place in August.

Commissioner Shirley Jamison commented that Willowbrook badly needs additional parking because what is there now is pretty tight.

Willowbrook Manor is a fivestar rated 101-bed nursing facility. Amenities provided for residents include semi-private rooms, an Internet cafe, unlimited visiting hours, a private lounge for family gatherings, a beautician/barber shop and outdoor courtyard and pavilion.

Longtime Township Trustee George Menoutes, who also serves on the Planning Commission, speculated that the facility has been there “a long time,” perhaps as long as 30 to 40 years.

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