History of the Project
Van Buren Charter Township started discussing the future of the Sumpter Road Corridor in 2020, stretching from the city limits of Belleville and Bemis Road. Following an introductory webinar with the township Planning Commission held on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 the township began seeking further feedback from the residents, business owners, community leaders and other stakeholders about what they would like to see in the area. The township seeks to meet several key objectives as part of this process.
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We want to work toward articulating a vision for the future of the Sumpter Road Corridor, in coordination with the City of Belleville and other key stakeholders. With the completion of a full update to the Township Master Plan, in 2020, it recognized more work needed to be done in several key areas. One of the most important areas is the township’s south side, including the Sumpter Road Corridor. This part of the township was planned in-depth in 2007 through the South Side Master Plan. Van Buren Township Public Services Director Matthew Best says, “Based on feedback and direction in that plan, the township has kept its promise to keep much of the area south of Hull Road rural.” North of Hull Road, the township planned for Commercial Future Land Use to Spencer Avenue and Mixed-Use Future Land Use north ofSpencer Avenue. “It is time to hear again from the community,” said Best.
The township sought consensus on whether or not people want to see a different future along Sumpter Road south of Hull. The township has already planned for limited pockets of commercial, including the Citgo gas station and pockets of Commercial Use near the intersections with Bemis Road and Hull Road. Otherwise, the township has planned for large lot (rural) housing and agriculture.
We also sought guidance on how properties along Sumpter Road north of Hull can be better utilized. North of Hull Road, Belleville and Van Buren Township intertwine. “Up until now, the township planned and zoned for Commercial Use from Hull Road to Spencer Avenue, and even zoned for Industrial Use to the north of Owen Street,” remarked Van Buren Township Planning and Economic Development Director Dan Power. “One of the effects of the past planning and zoning is that lots built as home sites were planned to convert into things like retail, restaurants, offices, and even Industrial Uses.” North of Spencer Avenue, the township planned for Mixed-Use.
But what does this mean? Does ‘mixed use’ include offices? Homes? Print shops? And what would the buildings look like if they are redeveloped as ‘mixed-use? Parcels north of Hull Road might be better served by going ‘back’ to residential or changing into one or more different Land Uses in the future. “The township wanted to build consensus behind how this can be achieved, and do so in a way that complements zoning and Land Use on the City of Belleville side,” stated Power in 2021.
Following the introductory webinar on April 28th, Van Buren Township Supervisor Kevin McNamara stated, “One of the striking results of the meeting was that there is no consensus yet. We heard from people who want something done north of Hull Road. But South of Hull Road, there are differing opinions on what to do or not to do. We needed more input from the community.”
All feedback collected will be put into analysis and used as recommendations for the project.