By Victor Milani
The ongoing debate in Northfield Center whether to rezone the Spitzer Property has been going on for over 2 years. The issue was again addressed last week at a Northfield Center Zoning meeting. The decision was made by the board to recommend to the Northfield Center Trustees was TO NOT REZONE the property in question. It is now up to Northfield Center Trustees to vote either in favor or against the recommendation to refuse the change of zoning. My crystal ball (usually accurate) tells me that the Trustees will listen to the wishes of the residents, and vote to not allow the change of zoning. My crystal ball also tells me that the issue won’t end there. Spitzer will then have three options. One is to engage in a long and costly legal battle with Northfield Center to force the change of zoning. No community wants to spend money on any legal battles were they could very well lose. Second, Northfield Center and Macedonia could have the property designated as a JEDD, where Northfield Center and Macedonia share the profits, as well as costs of the development. The revenues from the JEDD would pay for increased costs for police and fire protection, which would incur from the project. Third, Spitzer could approach Macedonia to annex the property to Macedonia, who would certainly entertain such an offer. Northfield Center would get the traffic still, but no money.
The plans have changed since the issue first was broached a few years ago. Meijer was the big box that was going to be built, along with a housing development. This time, there isn’t a clear-cut plan (it could still be Meijer) for the 16 acres in question. It’s hard for Northfield Center Trustees to vote for something when they ARE NOT told what’s going to be built, other than housing. It’s also hard for the Trustees to approve of something your residents are adamantly against due to traffic, noise, water runoff and environmental concerns.
With all that being said, don’t bet against this project to be brought to fruition eventually. The cost of a litigation, a JEDD, or annexation with Macedonia is a likely scenario that more than likely will make the development of the Spitzer property a reality. It may not happen overnight, but my crystal ball tells me the plan will move forward. Unfortunately, the voice and will of the people will be negated. A bad traffic situation will be made worse. The residents of the property that surrounds the development made many accurate claims and protests against the project. The Northfield Center Trustees probable vote against the change of zoning might be a moot point. And it may not be the end of the discussion. It might be just the beginning!