Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sumpter commission delays paintball field permit

Public opposition to a planned low-impact, pneumatic paintball field on Judd Road prompted members of the Sumpter Township Planning Commission to postpone any action on rezoning the land.
More than 20 residents spoke in opposition to the proposed plan which, residents said, would threaten their enjoyment of the rural lifestyle.
Commissioners opted to postpone the special land use exception for the 58-acre parcel during the Feb. 13 meeting. The meeting drew a large crowd who opposed the plan to use the land on the north side of Judd Road between Sumpter and Martinsville roads as a paintball field.  Earl Mott and his son, Alex Mott, who have a paintball store in Livonia are interested in buying the site from the family of Ron Rounsifer, who died last year.
The township planning consultant Chris Atkin said the large crowd and opposition to the plan was unexpected.

He explained that the paintball field would not operate after dark and that the area beyond a stream which cuts through the property is designated wetlands. He said no rezoning is planned from the RF zoning and the use proposed is very low impact. He added that the plans include leaving the existing trees which will act as 100-foot buffers, with a 250-foot buffer to the southeast. More trees will be added at the east property line, he explained. The plan shows parking in front of the site and four shipping containers stacked to provide a temporary office. Gravel will be added for the drive and parking, or other improved surface, he said.
Alex Mott showed the assembled audience the planned site on a paper, hand-held map, going from group to group of citizens.
Mary Ellen and Rene Rounsifer, the heirs to the land, said the 58 acres is land their father loved. “I think it would upset him that this is upsetting to the neighbors,” Rene Rounsifer said.
The land, the women noted, has been in their family for 100 years. If this plan is not approved, Mary Ellen Rounsifer said, the property would go back on the market and suggested the next proposed development might be even less attractive than the paintball field.
Commissioner Matt Oddy made a motion, seconded by Virginia Belinski, to postpone the rest of the public hearing until the April 9 commission meeting in an effort to allow the developers and township officials time to answer questions about the tax impact of the proposal, the wetlands boundary, building requirements, a grade review of the planned parking area and any utility easements that could interfere with the planned project.
Commissioners unanimously approved the motion to postpone the request until further information was provided.