Goodwill Industries of Metro Detroit received its final OK to move forward with plans to open a retail store in west Dearborn.
The effort passed the after four months of debate. The plan–requesting a zoning variance to allow a secondhand store within 700 feet of residences and a school–came before the Zoning Board of Appeals, where it was approved with a 3-1 vote Wednesday evening by the five-person board.
Board member Susan Binder was held from voting because she had already voted on the issue as a City Plan commissioner.
According to Goodwill Director of Donated Goods Jeffrey Ukrainec, it was a relatively smooth process.
"It was not a circus like it has been," he said. "It was controlled. They all had questions–did we consider alternative locations, the demographics of comparison from Canton to Dearborn–almost the same theme that we heard from the Plan Commission.
"It was more of an education process."
Unlike recent City Plan meetings, no audience members commented on the request from either side of the issue.
Ukrainec said they hope to move forward immediately with signing a lease to open the store in west downtown Dearborn. From there, demolition and construction will start.
A donation drive will likely be held within the next month, and the store should open by late summer, or early fall.
According to Ukrainec, Goodwill is investing $500,000 in a renovation of the space, including hardwood flooring, lighting and words and images adorning the walls that tell the story of Goodwill’s mission to fight unemployment throughout Metro Detroit. Shoppers will find vintage and new merchandise donated by local residents and corporations.
Ukrainec said that Goodwill is happy for the chance to serve Dearborn.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Dearborn community,” Ukrainec said. “This Goodwill store is going to benefit Dearborn residents and neighboring businesses, as well as the thousands of people who remain unemployed throughout Metro Detroit.”
The company's efforts to open a similar store in West Bloomfield also came before that township's Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday night, where .
In both cases, Goodwill was requesting a zoning variance. If the plan is approved in West Bloomfield, it will then go before their Planning Commission for approval before the store can open.