East Bay Township planning commissioners to review conservancy headquarters proposal | Local News

TRAVERSE CITY — Plans for the possible relocation of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy headquarters will be revealed to the public next week.

East Bay Township Planning Commissioners will on Tuesday begin discussions about the development plan for the proposed Mitchell Creek Meadows Nature Preserve and the concept to move the nonprofit’s operations to the site along Three Mile Road. A site plan review is scheduled, as well as discussions about future public hearings.

The planned nature preserve was the site of the former Mitchell Creek Golf Course which the conservancy finalized purchase of in April 2019. Local philanthropists Don and Jerry Oleson made a $1.1 million donation to the conservancy, which enabled it to quickly make the purchase, as previously reported in the Record-Eagle.

The 166-acre property in East Bay Township is expected to protect natural habitat and offer public recreation opportunities such as hiking and bird watching.

The conservancy may also relocate its offices to the old golf course buildings, should it prove feasible, said Jennifer Jay, communications director.

“We always said we wanted to be located at a nature preserve so we could show our work when people come to see us,” Jay said.

Conservancy offices have for years been housed in rented space above the Oleson’s supermarket on North Long Lake Road.

The township-level site plan requires a planned urban development permit, Jay said, for which official plans and architectural drawings are required.

One idea, for example, was to convert an existing pole barn at the site into a volunteer hub — a base camp for the nonprofit’s many volunteer programs and projects.

“We would love to be able to do this,” Jay said.

She said consultant architects must determine the agency’s space requirements, inspect the existing spaces at the old golf course, and then determine whether a plan could be made to transfer headquarter operations.

Jay said a decision should be made by May.

Claire Karner, township planning and zoning director, said the site plan review will begin with a tour of the site at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Township planning commissioners will recess the session after the tour, Karner said, until reconvening at 6:30 p.m. online for a videoconference-style regular meeting.

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