MARQUETTE - The Marquette Township Planning Commission is set to consider a site plan review this week from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community for its anticipated convenience store and gas station along U.S. 41.
In June 2012, the tribe began discussions publicly on the proposed development.
The applicant for the site plan review is Bayland Buildings Inc. and the property owner at 3475 U.S. 41 West is the KBIC, doing business as AAnikoosing Inc.
The $1.2 million project would build a single-story convenience store with associated amenities including fueling stations, drive lanes and parking.
"The task of the planning commission is to determine whether or not the proposed land use is appropriate for that property and location and to determine whether or not the submitted site plan meets the requirements of the Marquette Township Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan," Marquette Township planner Jason McCarthy said.
The Pines Convenience Center is located in L'Anse and is one of several businesses operated by the KBIC. That gas station and store is known throughout the region for its cheaper gas prices.
"The question of whether or not KBIC will sell cheap gas, is not within our purview," McCarthy said.
If approved by the planning commission at its 7 p.m. Wednesday meeting, the tribe could apply for a building permit the next day.
"Site work would begin this fall with the store likely opening next summer," McCarthy said.
A township staff report on the development said the plan would include reserve space for future expansion including additional fueling stations and possibly a car wash.
"This property is not considered trust land, thus the proposed development is subject to the full extent of the Marquette Township Zoning Ordinance," the report stated.
In 2010, the tribe purchased the former Las Tres Amigos restaurant property in Marquette Township.
"This site has been vacated for a number of years and is currently underperforming for a site with such an advantageous location," the report said. "Staff believes that the proposed development will enhance the area as well as provide the only fueling station on the south side of U.S. 41 in the township."
The lot being developed is 2.98 acres.
Access to the site will be provided by an existing driveway off U.S. 41 and another driveway from the east off Northwoods Road, according to the site plan. A total of 27 parking spaces are proposed, including two which would be handicapped-accessible.
Two freestanding signs have been proposed, which will meet township zoning requirements. Cut-off fixtures on lights are planned, which will prevent light pollution and lighting that produces direct or sky-reflected glare.
The building will have a brick faade with gable ends and large windows.
Township staff recommends approval of the plan, conditional upon completion of several items that are expected, including right-of-way permits from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Marquette County road Commission, necessary building permits and a 1 percent financial guarantee of $12,000 be provided.
"They have a very detailed site plan," McCarthy said.
Additional conditional items involved grading, drainage and storm water, utility services, fire prevention and signs.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.