Traverse City News and Events

Developers Scrap Plans For Fife Lake RV Park

By Art Bukowski | March 3, 2024

Developers of a highly contentious RV park proposed for Fife Lake are scrapping the project.

Fife Lake Village President Tom Hempsted tells The Ticker that a development representative emailed the village late Friday to say they "decided to move on” and withdraw their rezoning request. The request was for a 25-acre parcel just east of U.S. 131 and south of State Street in the northwest corner of the village.

The Fife Lake Area Planning Commission, a joint commission that includes the village and township, already approved a rezoning request. The request was slated to go before the village council for final approval as early as March 18.

Documents provided to the planning commission last year show more than 100 rentable sites (a mixture of slabs and cabins), though multiple people told The Ticker plans had since grown to 130 sites. The development was proposed by an entity called Fife Lake Family RV Resort LLC, described in documents as a southwest Michigan company.

The project had been the biggest lightning rod in the village in years, with packed meeting halls and loads of heated discussion on Fife Lake social media groups. Hempsted says village officials were keenly aware of strong opposition to the project.

“It’s obvious based on the public hearing that the joint planning commission had before they voted, and then the last two meetings that (the village council) had, that the majority of residents showing up to these meetings are not for this RV park,” he told The Ticker prior to developers withdrawing. “I can’t say about the whole community, but those who are showing up to meetings are completely against it.”

Alex Phelan, the project frontman who had been working with the village and who emailed to withdraw the rezoning request, did not return repeated requests for comment.

Area residents had expressed a wide range of concerns about noise, pollution, environmental impacts and more over the last several months. Village residents and some officials also expressed various degrees of concern about the water and sewer infrastructure that would be needed for such a development.

Linda Deeren lives on State Street about a half mile from the proposed site, and a trail that runs by the site continues past her house and into town. She was worried about a sharp increase in traffic should dozens and dozens of RV sites be allowed, and she is “so relieved” the plan is dead.

“It’s about time,” Deeren said. “The first meeting we had where the developer was there and everyone opposed it, that should have been it right there.”

Joanne Ogur, who owns property near the site, said the park would have “forever changed our village.” She’s also thrilled that the plan was pulled, and she’s “hugely proud” of area residents for standing up to the park.

“I love that we rallied and that people made their voices heard,” she says. “I love that people took the time to appreciate our village and our family feeling here and said that they don’t want to double (the village population) with strangers.”

At least some area residents supported the project on the grounds that it would generate economic activity for restaurants and shops in Fife Lake.  

 

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