Proposal to rezone property advances at committee meeting

Argus-Press Photo/Sally York

Nathan Hemenway of New Haven Township explains his plan to expand Hemenway Custom Wood Furnishings to the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners at a meeting Monday.  

CORUNNA — A proposal to rezone property in New Haven Township allowing for custom cabinet-making company to expand was advanced Monday by the Shiawassee County Economic and Physical Development Committee to Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

If the county commissioners move the proposal forward again on Wednesday, members could cast a final vote at Thursday’s regular commission meeting. The question is whether to approve the rezoning of a parcel on Six Mile Creek Road near M-52, site of Hemenway Custom Wood Furnishings.

The property currently is zoned one-family rural residential, and Hemenway’s existing facility meets the requirements for that zoning. However, an expansion would require changing the zoning to light industrial.

Although the new zoning would be called light industrial, unlike some industries the work at the cabinet-making business does not require water or sewer, generates scant traffic and does not create pollution, Horvath said.

“It fits into the character of the area,” Horvath said before the meeting. “It’s a nice little economic development win for the county.”

Horvath noted that the business is located on the corner of Six Mile Creek and M-52.

“Here’s another project occurring on a state highway,” he said. “Business and commerce: That’s where it should be located. These are the kinds of projects that deserve support.”

“On state highways, we’ve got to have something like that,” Commissioner Gary Holzhausen said during the meeting.

Several government bodies previously recommended the rezoning: The New Haven Planning Commission, New Haven Township Board and Shiawassee County Planning Commission.

“We had no problem with it,” Hazelton Township Supervisor James Sheridan said Monday. “I’ve known Nathan for a while. He does a good job.”

No resident spoke for or against the rezoning at Monday’s session. The board of commissioners will make the final decision on the rezoning application.

Owner Nathan Hemenway, 42, an Owosso native, is aiming to increase the size of his 5,000-square-foot building by 3,000 square feet. He said business growth prompted the plan to expand.

“I worked in the auto industry for 26 years, and three years ago, I retired,” he said before Monday’s session. “I was a mechanical engineer by trade and did woodworking on the side.

“I always wanted to do woodworking, and I finally made the decision to go full time. Since I’ve retired, I’ve been able to focus exclusively on making cabinets, and my business has really taken off.”

Hemenway Custom Wood Furnishings has four full-time employees plus Hemenway. The crew makes custom kitchen, bathroom and other kinds of cabinetry for clients across the United States. For more information, visit cabinetsbynate.com.

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