FLINT, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – In a townhall meeting in Genesee County’s Mundy Township last Wednesday, residents filled an auditorium about 15 minutes southwest of Flint and 15 minutes northwest of Swartz Creek. They were there to learn more about the possible manufacturing megasite coming to their area and ask questions about it.
The large poster displayed at the meeting said in large letters “This is not a township-led project.” It said that the “Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance” is assembling and preparing about 1,000 acres of land to market to advanced manufacturing companies. This includes microchip manufacturers and EV suppliers.”
It explained that the site is “primarily within the boundaries of Hill Road (to the south), Elms Road (to the west), Maple Road (to the north) and Linden Road (to the east). Most of the property includes farmland and houses – and Flint’s Bishop International Airport sits at the northeast corner of the area in question.
Citing growing interest in the area, the township created an approximate three-square mile advance manufacturing overlay district. In describing the overlay district, the township says, “Technological advances have created a new class of uses with similarities to traditional manufacturing and industrial uses, but which may not be appropriate or function adequately in a typical manufacturing zoning district due to the sensitivity of instruments and potential for impact from surrounding industrial uses. Furthermore, these uses typically have less potential for having an adverse impact on the environment and surrounding properties. “
Mundy Township Manager Chad Young said about the planning and zoning tool, “It was to ensure that we were being proactive and not being caught flat-footed knowing that there was serious interest in the area.” He also said about the townhall meeting, “We wanted the opportunity to share what we know from the township perspective with potential property owners and residents that may be impacted by a future site.”
Many residents didn’t think that the townhall cleared anything up very well or answered the questions that they had. Jackie Tressel, a Mundy Township resident who went to the meeting, told TV5 WNEM Saginaw, “I think it (meeting) made it worse. I really do because it’s so vague, the answers, and it feels like government politics all over again. She added, “I hate to bring politics into it, but it does, because not one answer. It’s like cloak and mirrors, cloak and daggers.”
Tressel also explained, “The biggest concern that our neighbors have is the value of property once this establishment goes up.” Residents are also concerned about the waste and also taking over the township’s farmland.
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The site, which is 981 acres, is currently undeveloped – however the Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance is preparing to market the land to manufacturing companies.
Michigan News Source reached out to the Alliance about the project and Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance explained that the development is, like the others around the state, a huge job creation opportunity. Rossmaessler said, “The Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance markets Genesee County to companies that will make investments that create jobs. To accomplish these goals we are assembling the Advanced Manufacturing District of Genesee County.”
He went on to say, “The Advanced Manufacturing District of Genesee County is roughly 1,000 acres in Mundy Township, near Flint Bishop Airport – on the southern edge of Flint. It is close to three freeways, a railroad and a talent pool of skilled trades workers as well as three great local colleges. Genesee County has a proud history of manufacturing know-how and expertise, which gives us a competitive edge with employers. On top of that, the site already has a built-out water infrastructure, capable of providing 5 million gallons of water per day to the site, and up to 85 million gallons daily with upgrades. That is a unique characteristic among potential development sites.”
Rossmaessler explained where they are in the process by saying, “We are in the early phases of preparing the site. Our focus has been on assembling the land and doing our due diligence through surveying, testing the soil, and other reviews. Because of the amazing characteristics of this site and the value Genesee County offers businesses, it’s not surprising that we have seen lots of interest in the site. We recognize the importance of keeping our community and stakeholders informed about our efforts and will do so to the best of our ability – balancing transparency with client privacy concerns as we move forward.”
$1.5 million was allocated to the Alliance’s Flint and Genesee Chamber Foundation from the MEDC’s “Build Ready Sites Program” which uses the Michigan Strategic Fund as their funding arm. The money in the program is used to assist communities and local economic development partners increase the inventory of project-ready sites for industrial development across the state and the money for this project will be used to enhance and market the property in Mundy Twp.
Rossmaessler said in a statement, “We believe the site’s access to transportation, infrastructure and workforce availability gives our community a major advantage in attracting game-changing economic development projects to Genesee County – the kind that will spur job creation, increase our tax base and contribute to an increased quality of life for the people who live here.”
If a plan for the site is submitted by a manufacturing company, it would need to go through the proper procedures including submitting an application to the township, having a hearing before the planning commission and getting approval by the board of trustees. Officials at the township first became aware of the project from the state back in August of 2022.
Michigan News Source reached out to Mundy Township Manager Chad Young to see if any non-disclosure agreements had been signed by anyone in the township about the project and to get information about how many houses and businesses would have to be bought to clear the site for a megasite facility – but Young did not return our request for comment on the matter.
However, one of the posters at their meetings said, “We have been involved in some preliminary conversations and will share what we can. After seeking legal counsel and notifying the board, limited staff and officials have agreed to be covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) with individual companies that are in the early stages of site exploration.”
They go on to say, “This is a normal business practice to protect a business’ confidential information and trade secrets. Often, businesses seeking property don’t want their investors or competitors to know about their interest until they’re ready to make an announcement. This allows the township board and staff to learn more about any potential development, giving us the opportunity to engage with and shape the process. An NDA does not preclude the board and public being aware of interest in the area.”