Developer wants apt. rezoning vote thrown out

Signs protesting a planned apartment development in Byron Township. (Oct. 13, 2014)

BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The ballots have already been printed, but the developer of a proposed apartment complex in Byron Township doesn’t want the votes to count, and he’s taking the matter to court.

The site of a proposed apartment development in Byron Township. (Oct. 13, 2014)
(The site of the proposed apartment development in Byron Township.)

Over the objections of opponents, township officials last year approved two zoning changes for a site off 64th Street east of Byron Center Avenue, south of Wyoming, that would allow The Springs at Byron Township luxury apartment complex to go up.

An opponent group then collected signatures and got an appeal of the rezoning placed on the May ballot. If the public rejects the rezoning, it would kill the project.

But in a lawsuit filed March 13, developer Dennis Swainston claimed there were problems with the paperwork that make the election illegal. He says the opponents didn’t specify which of two zoning decision they were appealing, and that Michigan law requires them to challenge only one per petition.

Swainston wants a Kent County Circuit Court judge to force the township to recognize the new zoning rules, which would allow the project to move forward.

Some may have already cast their votes on the issue, as absentee ballots had to be available by March 21.

The township plans to defend the vote in court. It’s not clear when a judge may make a ruling.

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