Traverse City Record-Eagle


March 16, 2014

Fifty-acre development proposed on Long Lake Road

TRAVERSE CITY -- Meyers Ackerman looks out his back window and sees a farm field soured from too many years of corn crops, but sweet with years of memory.

“You might say that’s an era that’s long gone by,” he said. “All down Long Lake could be residential housing.”

Ackerman, 87, built his home on Liberty Drive in Garfield Township in 2000, back when Butch Sheffer owned the neighboring farm. Sheffer took local kids on sleigh rides in the winters and brought sweet corn to neighbors every fall until he died in 2006. The field is still home to rabbits, deer, owls and other wildlife that Ackerman sees from his back window.

That view could change.

The 52-acre parcel to his north is proposed for a new residential development called Sheffer Farms near the intersection of Long Lake and Zimmerman roads. Sheffer Farms agents seek township approval for a Planned Unit Development to build a project to include 57 single-family lots, three apartment buildings, a senior apartment building and seven senior cottages, as well as a store, bank, recreation trail and park.

Doug Mansfield, president of Mansfield Land Use Consultants, represents the developers. He spoke to Garfield Township planning commissioners on March 12 and updated them on project changes since a February public hearing.

He revised the plan to delete a proposed gas station in favor of a gift store, and to reduce the number of units in the senior apartment building. He also offered to donate space to Garfield Township for a public, neighborhood “pocket park” on the development’s south side, which would neighbor Ackerman’s property.

A park would be a different view than a farm field, but Ackerman is comfortable with the change.

“At my age you kind of learn to live with what’s happening today, and what has to happen,” he said.

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