Neighbors Upset About Jackson National Life Expansion

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"The agreement the way it's parceled out, leaves us out, and we don't exactly know what that means for the value of our homes or actual impact on our homes," Alaiedon Township resident Andy Boyan said.
 

Big business wants to move into a quiet community, and neighbors aren't happy about it.

Jackson National Life Insurance Company plans to add a thousand jobs and boost the economy through a multi-million dollar expansion in Alaiedon Township. So, why are some people upset?

It all comes down to property lines.

Andy Boyan found his dream home on Sandhill Road three years ago.

"This is what we moved here for. It's beautiful," Boyan said standing in his backyard. "There's 'mosqueeters,' but there's also birds and wildlife and wetlands right there that cleans the water and creates this amazing habitat."

He's worried that habitat will cease to exist if Alaiedon Township approves a proposed land agreement with the City of Lansing that would allow Jackson National Life to build an 80,000-square-foot expansion in his - and his neighbors' - backyards.

"The agreement the way it's parceled out, leaves us out, and we don't exactly know what that means for the value of our homes or actual impact on our homes," Boyan said.

Their properties are right on the line between what's considered Lansing and Alaiedon Township in the agreement, and that could make a big difference - including, being able to use a new sewer system installed by the company, or not.

"Anytime the property in our vicinity is being upgraded, we should be part of the upgrade," Tom McNeil, owner of Country House Catering on Okemos Road, said. "I've been here since 1986, I at least deserve that respect."

The expansion would go right behind McNeil's business, and he feels the company wasn't up front about what the construction would entail. But Jackson National Life said in a written statement, that it's the most logical place to build, and it's planning a low-profile look that will blend in. The company is most focused on jobs, much like Lansing's Mayor.

"Their ideas and concerns should be listened to, but we have got to facilitate this expansion," Mayor Virg Bernero said.

The neighbors agree jobs are important and they support development, "but we're just concerned we're going to be lost in the shuffle of this great job boom," Boyan said.

The Alaiedon Township Board of Trustees is holding a public hearing about the issue at 8:00 p.m. Monday night at the Alaiedon Township Hall on West Hold Road.

The neighbors and business owners plan to attend, and hope they'll draft a different land proposal.

The board will vote on the agreement in a month.


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