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Amazon Inc. wants to put a nearly 87,000-square-foot distribution facility in Lyon Township.

During its meeting Monday, Lyon Township's Planning Commission recommended approval of the plans for the facility that would occupy a vacant building along Grand River Avenue on Automation Boulevard.

The online retailer wants to use the land for a distribution center and temporary parking area in the Wellhead Protection Overlay District. A wellhead protection area is typically land regulated to prevent contamination of water.

The Planning Commission supported approving a special land use to allow the temporary parking as well as  the site plan for the distribution center, which calls for the redevelopment and occupation of a vacant building and a parking lot built in the second phase. 

Katherin Des Rochers, Planning Department coordinator for Lyon Township, said the plans next head  to Lyon Township's Board of Trustees.

The board is expected to vote on the special land use during its March 2 meeting to allow the site plan to move forward.

Before the vote Monday night, planning commissioners said the site location is ideal for distribution.

"Whoever picked this site was very smart because we are in a sweet triangle in our community," Patricia Carcone, the board liaison, told project representatives. 

The distribution facility is considered an Amazon Logistics "last mile" operation, which means packages will be shipped from other fulfillment and sorting centers, sorted to routes, then loaded into delivery vans to be distributed to customers, according to documents the commission reviewed. 

Lee Vander Meulen of Progressive AE, the Grand Rapids firm involved in the project, noted officials hope to have both phases of the effort completed by the end of the year.

"We’re trying to get the building up and operational as soon as possible," he said. 

The facility is expected to be open 24 hours a day to allow receiving and sorting overnight, with loading and delivery during the day, Vander Meulen said.

The exact number of workers has not yet been determined. Early on, the largest shift at the building calls for as many as 55 employees, he said. Nearly 200 parking spaces were expected on the property.

The plans also call for improvements to Grand River Avenue, directly north of the property, Vander Meulen said. The delivery vehicles mainly would travel using Automation, to the east.

Jim Chuck, another planning commissioner, noted the site's role in e-commerce.

"This is the future," he said. "Whether we like it or not."  

Amazon had multiple positions open on Linkedin.com for the yet-to-be-approved South Lyon facility, including a senior HR assistant and an area logistics manager. Applications for those jobs are no longer being accepted.

Amazon in recent years has built several facilities in Michigan. The company opened a regional fulfillment center in Livonia in 2018. A delivery station in Romulus opened last year.

ithibodeau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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