Oleson’s eyes the east side

TRAVERSE CITY – Following growth trends in the region, Oleson’s Food Stores has proposed a new store in East Bay Township.

Store officials presented a preliminary plan to the East Bay Township Planning last month. A public hearing to consider the proposal, the first in a series of steps on the road to approval or rejection, was slated to be held May 2.

Their sixth store overall and the third in Traverse City, Oleson’s Plaza East is a proposed commercial complex on the nine acres of land that comprise the township’s Village Center.

This Planned Unit Development zoning district is situated at the southeast corner of the intersection of Hammond and Three Mile roads, a highly-traveled area. Nearby are East Junior High School, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School, the Grand Traverse Academy, as well as Centre ICE and other nearby housing and commercial developments.

The proposed Oleson’s Plaza East will be approximately 47,000 square feet and includes provision for six additional spaces. Each proposed space would be 2,000 square feet and could be used for either commercial or office purposes.

“There are also two out-lots they are proposing something for,” said Mike Nickels, East Bay Township planning commission chair, of two potential free-standing buildings.

Nickels, who was elected chair of the commission last fall, noted that the township completed a master plan four or five years ago. Officials tied this plan into a zoning ordinance that had previously been redone.

East Bay Township officials completed these steps to take a pro-active approach to future proposed developments in this burgeoning area south and east of Traverse City.

“It was time. We just wanted to be ready; we don’t know for what until somebody comes in with a plan,” he noted, adding of the proposed Oleson’s Plaza East: “It’s a part of the proposed Village Center, which was zoned to concentrate development and density.”

Oleson’s Food Stores presented their plan for preliminary review to the East Bay Township planning board two times.

“They have the opportunity to come before us to make sure all the questions regarding zoning and the Planned Unit Development are answered,” Nickels noted of the zoning ordinance’s provision for preliminary review.

After the public hearing, members of the planning board will either approve the plan for recommendation to the township board or table it for further study. Nickels anticipated good attendance at the public meeting.

“People in our township are involved,” he noted. “We have a group called Friends for East Bay. I don’t know how many their membership is, but they are kind of a watchdog for what goes on in the township and whether or not we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.” BN