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SPARTA, MI — Sparta Township voters will decide Aug. 3 if they want a development of 70 single-family homes to move forward.

The ballot measure would overturn a rezoning ordinance approved last year by the Sparta Township Board which allows a housing development called Hidden Prairie at 9029 Alpine Ave.

Nearly a month after the township board approved the rezoning ordinance Oct. 8 in a split 4-2 vote, residents submitted a successful petition to have a referendum on the decision.

The petition needed 306 valid signatures to have the referendum placed on the Aug. 3 ballot. A total 342 signatures were valid.

If voters overturn the rezoning ordinance in the upcoming election, developer South Sparta would be unable to move forward on its plans for 70 single-family homes on about 44 acres of land. The remaining 25 acres of the property would be open space and improved common areas.

Sparta Township Supervisor Dale Bergman declined to say whether South Sparta had halted work on the development, or even began it, in light of the impending referendum.

Some residents have raised concerns about the density of homes, loss of rural character and community feel, traffic safety and water quality and runoff issues associated with the development, according to meeting minutes.

The property eyed for the development is currently an open field. It sits off of Alpine behind four homes. The township remains neutral on the referendum vote.

Only residents of Sparta Township are able to vote on the referendum. Village of Sparta residents are not eligible.

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