Hartford rezones 111 acres for development

The Hartford City Hall is pictured Nov. 17, 2017.

HARTFORD — People exiting off I-94 in Hartford could one day be greeted with stores, more restaurants, apartment buildings and a lake. 

The Hartford City Commission OK’d a rezoning request Monday for 111 acres of property along South Center Street/County Road 687, which is north of I-94. The property was rezoned from agriculture to commercial/general business. 

Property owner John Falkner Jr. said initial plans call for digging out the center of the property, where there already is a ditch and creek, to turn it into a small lake.  

“Then on the front side between there and the road, that’s where we plan on putting the first apartments that will then look over the lake,” he said. “Then in front of that will be the commercial center.”

Falkner said he hopes to get a major store to anchor it, along with some restaurants. He said there would be enough space behind the lake, back to 63rd Street, for up to 250 single-family homes.

Falkner said getting it rezoned was the first step, and now he can start to solidify plans. The property sits across from McDonald’s, a Shell gas station, a Subway, the Panel Room, the Hartford Township Hall and Maple Hill Cemetery. 

The city Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning request earlier this month. The piece of land had been a pickle farm for the last several years.

In other business, Mayor Rick Hall reported that the City Commission got a letter from the city attorney that the application for a medical marijuana grow operation has not yet met all the requirements. 

Commissioners tabled the matter until they receives all the information and paperwork.

K.O.K Inc. applied to the city in June. City planners recommended it for commissioner approval earlier this month.

Commissioner John Miller said he looked at the application and it did not list the distances it would be from schools and churches. He said he’d like to see that clearly marked. City Manager Yemi Akinwale said he measured it at more than the required 1,000 feet from the school.

The grow operation would sit on about 5 acres of empty property already zoned light industrial, at the Hartford Speedway.

Also, the City Commission appointed Nancy Spoula to the City Planning Commission after the resignation of Frank Emery, who moved out of the city.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman