EUREKA TOWNSHIP — Some neighbors of Klackle Orchards and Pavilion are having problems with noise and lighting coming from the business and are requesting to have their property rezoned.
The issue was brought to the Eureka Township Planning Commission in November by resident David Fielding.
Fielding said he has lived at his property for more than 20 years. Since Klackle Orchards and Pavilion was opened, the noise and lighting has become a nuisance causing Fielding to move.
However, because of these same issues, Fielding said he is having a hard time selling his home as residential and wanted the flexibility of trying to sell it as commercial.
“I am tired of living there,” Fielding said.
New zoning would provide options
Fielding addressed the commission during the public hearing on Wednesday about possibly rezoning the area across Klackle Orchards and Pavilion from suburban residential to office service commercial one (OSC1).
Duane Putnam, vice chairman of the commission, said OSC1 is more compatible with residential areas opposed to the OSC2, which is how Klackle Orchards and Pavilion is zoned.
With OSC1, residents would have the option of selling the property as residential or commercial. By having the property become OSC1, it would not change the taxes, Putnam said.
Klackle Orchards and Pavilion is currently allowed to host receptions and events because the business was developed under no restrictions.
Fielding said he is upset because he sat in on the meeting regarding the business when it was first presented to the Planning Commission.
According to Fielding, Steve Klackle, owner of the Klackle Orchards and Pavilion, said nothing like receptions would be taking place at the business.
Commissioner Joyce Sage agreed and said when Klackle came to the board he promised there would not be these kind of things taking place.
Although Klackle was unable to attend the meeting because of prior commitments, he told the Daily News Thursday morning he did not recall such conversations taking place with the planning commission saying that he would not hold such events.
“I opened the (Pavilion) for fall activities and parties,” Klackle said.
Putnam said when future businesses want to come into the area around residences, ordinances need to be looked at.
“This is coming back to bite us,” he said.
Asking the public for input
The Planning Commission opened the issue to the public to gather input from residents who live across from Klackle Orchards and Pavilion. Letters were sent prior to Wednesday’s meeting to residents who live in the area being considered for rezoning and invited them to attend and voice their opinions, Planning Commission Chairman Lee Gilman said.
Resident Richard Rees said he did not mind the business at first because he thought the noise would go away by nightfall, but it does not.
He said it sometimes starts in the middle of the afternoon and goes to the late hours of the night.
Klackle said although he admits activities in the pavilion have got loud once in awhile, there are sound ordinances in place by the township that he maintains.
“It’s once in a while, very seldom” Klackle said. “It’s not like there are loud concerts.”
The main events that take place at the pavilion are sporting games that are not excessively loud, Klackle said.
When events do take place at the pavilion that have music, Klackle said he does not encourage live bands. If there is a band that is use, the events are usually over by 11 p.m.
Les Lillie, a resident close to the business, said he is not for the rezoning, but these issues need to be taken care of.
“I do not want my property rezoned,” Lillie said.
The issue regarding noise and lighting, Lillie said, should be addressed through ordinances and the sheriff’s department.
Gilman agreed the music coming from the pavilion is loud and added he can hear it a mile and a half away at his home.
If the properties were to be rezoned OSC1, regardless of how the property owner sells the house, they will have to get a commercial loan, which is harder to get, Eureka Township Supervisor Laura Shears said.
“If the frontage doesn’t meet the 300 feet requirement (for commercial), which mine doesn’t, then you’re stuck,” Shears said. “We don’t want any part of it.”
Commissioner Mike Blanding agreed with Shears and said although there are loans out there, they are harder to get. If the property is sold residential and the new owners wanted to get a mortgage, it would be difficult to get if the property is OSC1.
Property owner Bill Lowry said he bought property with a house near Klackle Orchards and Pavilion to fix up and resell as residential property.
“We bought it with the intentions of residential to try to straighten up the community,” Lowry said and added if the area becomes OSC1 it will be harder for him to sell his property.
Lowry said he has been steered away from some properties he wanted to fix up and resell because he was told no one would buy them that close to Klackle Orchards and Pavilion.
In regards to Fielding’s issues, Lowry said someone needs to do something about noise and lighting.
“There shouldn’t be any business where it is driving people out (of the community),” Lowry said. “(Fielding) has lived there longer and this issue needs to be dealt with.”
An issue of urban sprawl?
County Commissioner Tom Lindeman said the situation sounded like an issue of urban sprawl.
“That’s not right,” Lindeman said regarding the complaints of residents. “No one should have to listen to those noises.”
Jerry Collins said he liked the idea of OSC1 because he is having a hard time selling his home. Potential buyers have told Collins they do not like how close the house sits to M-57.
Gilman asked the audience of residents and property owners how many are for the rezoning of the properties to OSC1 and only two their hands, eight attendees said they were against it, and some wanted to think about it more.
Gilman noted there was an overwhelming response regarding residents not wanting to have their properties rezoned.
“Klackle’s has to realize people have to live there too,” Putnam said and added there should not be anymore warning given to them.
“These people don’t deserve what they are getting,” Sage said. “We are here for our residents; we all have to work together.”
The commissioners voted to table the issue until the Jan. 18 meeting to look into options.