Goodwill gets OK from Plan Commission

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The months of waiting are over for Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

In a 5-4 City Plan Commission vote, the secondhand store received approval for special land use during a commission meeting April 9 at City Hall.

With all nine commissioners in attendance, those who voted for the proposal were: Chairman Gary Errigo, Christine Sickle, Susan Binder, Teresa Skora and Tawfiq Hassan.

Said Deep, Nancy Sewick, Nasser Alrayashi and Chris Forsyth voted against the proposal.

Goodwill’s next step is to attend the April 18 Zoning Board of Appeals, where they must meet certain criteria before moving in.

Goodwill Public Relations and Special Events Director Mark Lane said he is glad that the store can move forward.

“I feel like I just gave birth,” Lane said after the meeting. “I am relieved. This has been a process we have been working on since early October and to get the public support we received this evening has been overwhelming.” Lane also said that Goodwill is a store ‘for all of us.’

“The residents of Dearborn, they are the ones that we did this for, not just Goodwill,” Lane said.

The 90-year-old organization aims to put people to work, Lane said. He estimates the store will generate about 25 new jobs.

Lane said the Goodwill could bring in revenue comparable to that of the Canton location. That location brought in $800,000 its first year and is up 44 percent in its second.

Since January, Goodwill Industries went before the commission four times asking for approval to open their store at the former Inca Computer location on 22451 Michigan Ave., which has sat empty for 15 years.

The site is zoned Business C (General Business District) and Business D (Downtown Business District), classed in the same category as a strip club, which enforces a buffer zone between schools and residences. There is another buffer zone needed for other second hand stores.

Whether to let the store move in west Dearborn was not so much the question during the meetings, as was the question of will there be enough commissioners to make a decision.

In January, the commissioners voted 3-2 for the Goodwill. Five “yes” votes were needed for the store to move forward.

In February, the vote was tied 4-4. Commissioner Tawfic Hassan was not present at the meeting.

In March, Goodwill asked the commission to table the item until enough commissioners are present to vote, a move they accepted. Three of five commissioners were absent and although there was a quorum, Goodwill anticipated another tie vote.

Goodwill Director of Donated Goods Jeff Ukraniec said “I thought third time was a charm, but fourth time is a charm. We are using an existing building, we are going to stimulate the economy.”

Goodwill Industries wants to renovate the 15,000-square-foot building and spend $500,000 for the remodeling project. The store plans to open by fall if everything goes smoothly.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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