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TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County Road Commissioners got their first look at a nearly 80-acre proposed development for a busy Garfield Township corner, to include a public bus transfer station, 150 apartments, some single family units, a day care and a café.

In August the Bay Area Transportation Authority announced the Federal Transit Administration granted $13.38 million for plans to build the new headquarters and transfer station, as previously reported by the Record-Eagle.

“The northeast corner of Hammond and Lafranier, 79 acres, the proposal we have with BATA and the TC Housing Commission is the front 50 acres on the western half,” Doug Mansfield, of Mansfield Land Use Consultants, told road commissioners Tuesday.

BATA and the Traverse City Housing Commission have been in talks since January on the collaborative project, as previously reported. The project would replace BATA’s current headquarters at Cass and South Airport roads, which dates from 1986 and includes leased annexes for office and storage, BATA Executive Director Kelly Dunham previously said.

The idea has always been to give residents workforce housing and easy access to public transit, Dunham previously explained. The announcement of the day care facility and the café is new, however.

The project came before the road commission because a variance for as many as six approaches for the development may be required in order to abide by wetlands regulations, Mansfield said.

“The critical headlands in this region are very protected and we all have the same goals to protect natural habitat,” Mansfield said, of the Mitchell Creek Watershed.

The new building would consolidate everything in BATA’s current facility, consolidating an indoor bus storage, a maintenance garage and offices.

Early concepts for the site have already been submitted to Garfield Township, Mansfield, who is a civil engineer and the supervisor of Union Township, said. Construction could start in spring 2021, as previously reported.

To any road commission staff concerns that future development could create similar access and driveway challenges motorists and planners now face along South Airport Road, Mansfield offered a numerical comparison.

“There are six driveways from Lafranier to Garfield on Hammond Road (in the project),” Mansfield said. “That same distance on South Airport has 35 approaches on it. So in no way does anybody want to see it turn into that type of corridor, and it shouldn’t.”

Mansfield and Road Commission Chairman Carl Brown met to discuss the project prior to the road commission’s Tuesday meeting and the project was a “blue paper” add, meaning it was taken up after the formal meeting agenda was finalized.

“Seeing as you’re on as an appointment, this is not a voting forum according to our agenda,” Brown said. “There would be no approval or denial because of that. And, this is the first shot that other board members have had.”

The project is expected to be discussed again, where a vote may be taken, at a special meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 9.

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